Libraries, museums, galleries

Pencho Slaveykov Regional Library

Pencho Slaveykov Regional Library was set up by the Varna Literary Society in 1883 owing to the generous donations of prominent public figures and patriots from the city. As the oldest cultural establishment in Varna, it was a leading library institution which played a vital role in providing support to human development and progress by performing essential educational, informative, social and cultural functions. It successfully combined its role of a depository of the Bulgarian literature with the mission of a main motive power in the search for and application of the innovations in the information society.

Some of the founders of the library were Krastyu Mirski, Haralan Angelov, Nikola Zhivkov, Panayot Kardzhiev, Mihail Koloni, etc. In 1887, it became a Municipal Public Library, and with a government decree of 22 June 1966 it was named after the great Bulgarian poet Pencho Slaveykov. By virtue of a Ministerial Decree of 28 July 2000, it became a regional cultural institute. As such, it has implemented and coordinated the government policy in the field of library science for Varna region.

Pencho Slaveykov Regional Library is a member of the Bulgarian Library and Information Association, of the Balkan Libraries Union, and participates as a partner in various programmes of non-government organisations and cultural institutions – the Global Libraries programme – Bulgaria, British Council, Goethe-Institut, Alliance Francaise, etc. The largest library in the region has a universal collection, consisting of over 870,000 library items.

In 1990, the technological procedures for processing library items, as well as the service of readers became entirely computerised. The reference tools of the library (catalogues and card indices) are maintained in an online version.

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Museum of Archaeology

The Archaeological Museum of Varna was established in 1887 by the brothers Karel and Herman Shkorpil (archaeologists and scientists of Czech and Bulgarian origin, founders of the Bulgarian archaeology and museum activity).

The building housing the museum was constructed in 1892 – 1898 for a school – a Girls High School. It was built in late baroque style with basement premises and two floors. It has almost square shape and spacious internal yard. The exposition area of the museum is 2 150 square meters. There are also funds, a library and children education museum.

Some of the premises and the corridors are decorated with wall paintings. A continuous corridor surrounds the entire building and one can enter the exhibition halls through it. Along a wide staircase at the south part, one enters a foyer, where the information desk and the pavilion for souvenirs and museum issues are placed. This is the connection with the exhibition halls and the basement area, where the library and the single children education museum in the country is situated.

The archaeological museum shows original finds from the Paleolithic Age /about 100 000 years BC/ to the Middle Ages /7th – 8th/ century, many of which are of great significance to the archaeology of Europe and the world. The largest Mesolithic collection of flint tools in South-East Europe, the largest collections of ancient terracotta, tombstone reliefs, lamps and glass vessels in Bulgaria are placed here.

The most significant exhibits in the museum are from the Varna Eneolith necropolis founded during accidental construction works in the west industrial zone of Varna in 1972. Varna necropolis soon turned into a sensational scientific find, the significance of which surpasses largely the limits of the ancient history of contemporary Bulgaria.

As a result of the researches, 294 tombs have been found by now. The golden objects alone, found in the examined tombs, are more than 3 000, and have a total weight of more than 6 kilograms, and their diversity is significant – more than 38 different types. Very large is also the quantity of finds of other materials – the copper articles are more than 160; the flint articles - more than 230; almost 90 made of stone and marble. Multiple shells of Mediterranean mollusca have been found, and about 1100 decorations have been made of them - bracelets, beads and applications. The ceramics – more than 650 clay pots, is an often found tomb inventory. Among them, two pots occupy a specific place. The decoration on their surface is painted with golden paint.

Unique exponents of the Hellenistic age, the Roman age and the Late Antiquity are presented; as well as rare premonetary forms, more than 2000 golden, silver, bronze and copper antic and middle age coins. Stone inscriptions from the history of the Bulgarian state are also presented; and also the largest in the country collections of early Bulgarian belt decorations and jewels dating from the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1393).

A representative part of the rich collection of the museum is presented in six halls - 150 icons (14th – 19th century). Here you can see exceptionally rich and old specimens, as well as top achievements of the Tryavna icon-painting school. With its icon collection, the Varna Museum is ranked immediately after the National Museum of History in Sofia.

Tickets for the museum and information materials can be bought in the foyer, where the pavilion for souvenirs, information materials, specialized literature, etc. is situated. The exposition is arranged chronologically, as materials from the various historical ages are consecutively presented, in order to trace the development of the human society during thousands of years in the Varna region.

You can get to The Archaeological museum by public buses 7, 12, 31, 31А, 148 to bus stop “Muzeya”, and public buses 9, 14, 409 to bus stop "Sevastopol".

Adults: 10 lv
Children: 2 lv
Students: 5 lv
Groups over 10 persons – 8 lv per person
Guided tours in Bulgarian and other languages available at extra cost

Opening hours: 
June - September: 10:00-17:00hrs, without a day off
October - May: 10:00-17:00hrs, days off: Sunday and Monday

Contact details:
41 Maria Luisa Blvd.
Information: +359 52 681 030 
Telephone: +359 52 681 011

Naval museum

The beginning of the Naval museum is laid in the Danube city of Russe in 1883.In the same city in 1879 was created the military fleet of the newly liberated Bulgarian Principality. The first document about the museum is the report of the Captain Lieutenant Zinovi Rozhestvenski – commander of the Danube fleet, to the Defense Minister from 12 (24) October 1883.It was announced in that it has already started the collecting of antiquities and the Naval museum was in “germ”. Together with the newly created library the museum will contribute for the “formation of the adequate circles” in the Fleet. In 1885 for curator of the museum maritime collection was named the engineer Pavel Kuzminski. The first exponents are mostly models of armaments and technical appliances. From that time there is a preserved personal arms and belongings.
The idea about a Naval museum in the fleet was in process of development. At the end of the First World War in Varna had arisen real preconditions for its opening to visitors : exponents were collected, the launched initiative found supporters, premises were provided. The opening of the museum was preceded by a decision of the Board of directors of the Bulgarian National Marine Agreement (BNMA) from August 1921 that specified the museum collection to be moved from Russe to Varna .Provided were two rooms in the Girls’ High School of that time.The initiators were the officers Georgi Slavianov, Ivan Mihailov , Sava Ivanov. Among the first names of curators were Protasi Pampulov, St. Canev, Djeferov. The prominent Bulgarian archaeologist Karel Shkorpil was also enlisted.The sketches, the plans, the diagrams and the legendary “Sea bottom” were due to the Russian colonel Alexander Poluboyarinov, educated in archaeology.
The official opening and consecration of the Maritime museum (as it was called then) took place on May 20, 1923, by that it could be defined as the first public maritime museum in Bulgaria. It was sanctified by the bishop of Varna and Preslav- Simeon. In the word of Karel Shkropil we read : “The purpose of the museum is to explore and present the development of the Bulgarian navigation to the society…aims to propagate the concept of love to the sea, the needs of its knowledge and the enormous benefits from it. In the museum the visitor will get acquainted with the history of our former military and commercial fleet…”

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Museum of National Revival

The new exposition of the Museum of the Revival in Varna is situated on 21 L. Zamenhof Street in an old building which was constructed at the end of the 19th century.  In the past, this building has served various purposes, including an independent high school for girls following the Liberation. Today, it houses the museum.

This new exposition highlights important moments of Varna’s history during the Revival period.  The Bulgarian national revival began later in Varna, in the middle of the 19th century.  The cultural and spiritual progression of the movement is portrayed at the different levels of the museum.  The first floor of the museum depicts the significance of Varna as a strategic port on the West Black Sea, particularly during the Russian-Turkish wars at the end of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. 

On the second floor, the exposition demonstrates the city’s economic development, the creation of the municipality, the school, the community center, as well as the national religious movement. One of the halls is a reproduction of a classroom with attributes relevant to education during this period.  The exposition also depicts aspects of the struggle leading up to the Liberation, in particular the city’s participation in the rebel movement, the revolutionist’s manifestations, and the April rebellion.  
Varna is the last liberated city. 

Liberation was achieved with great difficulty on the 27th of July, 1878 with the arrival of the Russian army led by General Stolipin. The exposition displays for the first time  a collection obtained over many years, including books, a church plate, a weapon, and pictures and personal items of the fighters for our freedom.

Adults: 4 lv
Children: 2 lv

Opening hours: 
May - October: 10:00-17:00hrs, day off: Sunday
November - April: 10:00 - 17:00hrs, days off: Saturday and Sunday 

Contact details:
21 ”L. Zamenhoff” Str.
Tel: +359 52 658 891

Museum of Natural History

At the beginning the museum added collections mainly from Hunting and Fishing Association and the Aquarium of Varna. Stuffed mammals and birds were bought from amateur taxidermist Georgi Doykov. The basic principles of thematic plan were complied with the characteristics of the local environment. Valuable assistance, opinions and recommendations were given from researchers from the Institute of Fisheries and personally by its Director Prof. Alexander Vulkanov.
The design is characterized by light constructive form of furniture, minimalism of presentation and skillful arrangement of specimens.

The official opening of the museum took place on July 22, 1962. The research area has been expanded in 1983 and the scopes of the Museum of Natural History in Varna are focused to the Black Sea Area and represents geology, hydrology, flora and fauna including the entire coastal strip with its psamophytic flora and fauna, with riverine forests and coastal lakes.

After a renovation of the building in 2008, a complete reorganization of the "Geology and Paleontology" exhibition hall was carried out. The new elements are: complete classification of minerals according to Systematic scale of the famous Bulgarian mineralogist Academician Ivan Kostov from (1993); the origin of the rocks and the latest geochronological scale; fossils from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. The impressive fossil teeth of ancestors of the present elephant are exhibited for the first time.

Two new dioramas are arranged in order to exhibit rare species such as the black stork and the brown bear in their native habitats.

You can get to Museum of Natural History by public buses 9, 14, 409 to bus stop "Sportna zala".

Adults: 3 lv
Children: 2 lv 

Opening hours: 
May - October: 10:00-17:00hrs, day off: Monday 
November - April: 10:00-17:00hrs, days off: Saturday and Sunday

Contact details:
Sea Garden
Tel.: +359 52 618 011

Puppet museum

The Puppet Museum was opened in 1985.. Unique puppets made by Georgi Saravanov (founder of the theatre) welcome us first. After that their younger colleagues from 24 emblematical performances (1952-2002) join the exciting parade. Their medals and distinctions are put in three show cases. The exposition twists the creative efforts of authors, directors, actors, artists, and constructors. Different techniques, styles and trends in this free genre of applied art had been followed. Also the creative hand of leading Bulgarian stage designers like the architect Ivan Tsonev, Maia Petrova, Lubomir Tsakev, Maia Kuzova, Anna Pulieva, Angel Nedelchev, Kosta Ortodoksov, Petia Stoikova, Encho Avramov, Vasil Rokomanov etc.

Adults: 3 lv
Children: 2 lv 

Opening hours: 
Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 - 17:00hrs, Saturday - 10:00 - 13:00hrs
Days off: Sunday and Monday

Contact details:
5 ”Sheynovo” Str.
Tel.: +359 52 608 172, +359 885 12 40 12

Ethnographic museum

The museum presents the rich variety in culture and style of life of the population in Varna region from the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

One of the most interesting exponents in the museum is the small ancient plough called “dyolmedzha”, used for ploughing of earth in the beginning of the 20th century. Vessels for storing of grain, as well as for preparing of bread are also exposed.

The exposition on the second floor presents traditional national costumes, which give an idea about the demographic look of the Varna region. The people’s clothes in the settlements in the region differentiate with their great variety, due to the complex migration processes, which happened in the first decades and the end of the 19th century. Traditional costumes of each of the basic geographic groups in the region are presented here – local population and settlers from the Thracian region, Asia Minor and Macedonia. The traditional costumes for the customs – Christmas, Petlyovden, Lazarovden are also presented.

Information materials and souvenirs are sold in the museum.

Adults: 4 lv
Children: 2 lv

Opening hours: 
June - September: 10:00-17:00hrs, day off: Monday 
October - May - 10:00 - 17:00hrs, days off: Saturday and Sunday

Contact details:
22 “Panagiurishte” Str.
Tel: +359 52 630 588

Museum of the History of Medicine

The exhibition is organized in three exhibition rooms and two foyers.

The exhibition in the first room covers the period from the 4th millenium BC to 1393, the end of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Different objects, tools as well as many photos and graphic diagrams give an idea of the development of medicine as a practice in this perod.

The second exhibition room presents the development of medicine from 1393 to the Bulgarian National Revival. Typical for this perod is the so called church-monastery medicine. Icons of medieval healers and medical instruments and tools from the period are displayed in this room.

The third exhibition hall traces the development of medical services during the Russian-Turkish War (1877-1878), after the Liberation until 1940s.

You can get to the museum by public buses 17A, 20 (nearest bus stop "Baseyna")

Free admission!

Opening hours: 
Monday - Friday: 8:30 - 16:30hrs
Days off: Saturday and Sunday 

Contact details:
7 ”Paraskeva Nikolau” Str.
Tel: +359 52 639 729

The park-museum „Vladislav Varnenchik”

The park-museum „Vladislav Varnenchik” is a memorial complex, situated in the center of the battlefield, in the middle of an unique park on an area of 30 decares.

It is located at the western part of Varna at the place of the battlefield from 10.11.1444, where the Polish - Hungarian King Vladislav Yagello lost his life.

The museum exposition are displayed the unique in the country knight’s armour from that period.
In the exposition every visitor has the possibility to see:

arms and equipment from XV century, found on the battlefield (helmets, cross-bows, swords, shields, spears, etc.)
paintings, sculptures, prints and other works of art, dedicated to the battle of Varna
flags, models, tickets and coats of arms
On our territory there can be seen two Thracian mounds where a Thracian tomb from IV c. BC is situated. In 1935 a token mausoleum of the perished 20-year-old King Vladislav Varnenchik is built above it.

The museum is open to visitors in 1964 in honour of 520th anniversary from the battle of Varna between the Christian armies of the Polish- Hungarian King Vladislav III Yagello and the Turkish armies under command of sultan Murad II. In 1964 is raised a monument of Yanosh Hunyadi - commander-in-chief of the King Vladislav’s army, Transylvanian leader, regent of Hungaria from 1446. In 2004 the museum and the exposition are entirely modernized. The museum disposes with a hall for temporary exhibitions. Among the interesting exhibitions, presented in it to this moment, they are:

“Historical medieval costumes”
Exhibition - Printing of Varna’s graphic artist Borislav Kuzmanov
"Poland in the epoch of the Yagellons” (made in the Museum to the Polish army in Warsaw)
The photo-exhibition “Knight’s skirmishes beside the fortress Varna” (photographed at the time of the recovery of the battle of Varna on 18th May 2008)
The international exhibition “Warriors of freedom”, dedicated to the 130th anniversary from the Liberation of Bulgaria, etc.
A special hall in the museum building is dedicated to the commander-in-chief Yanosh Hunyadi.

In the Exhibition hall Petar Dimkov are exposed personal belongings, photographs, orders and documents about the life and the activity of “cosmic Bulgarian” whom today we call The Healer.

The museum park with an area of about 30 decares is afforested with an unique vegetation and predisposes for a wonderful short relaxation.

You can get to park-museum „Vladislav Varnenchik” by public bus lines 22, 118, 118A or trolley line 82 to bus stop "Park-muzey Vl. Varnenchik".

Adults: 5 lv
Children: 2 lv (children under 7 years old - free admission)

Opening hours: 
April - October: 9:00-17:00hrs, day off: Monday 
November - March: 9:00-17:00hrs, days off: Sunday and Monday
Septemeber, October 2020 - 9:30 - 17:30hrs, days off: Sunday and Monday

Contact details:
55 “Yanosh Huniyadi” blvd.
Tel.: +359 52 740 302

Museum “New History of Varna” (1878-1944)

The New History of Varna Museum was established in 1969. Its new exhibition was inaugurated on November 22, 1991. The exhibition is situated in three rooms and it reveals the city development as a port, as a cultural, commercial, industrial and medical centre during the period 1878-1939.

On the first floor main crafts typical for the region are displayed: cotton growing, metalwork, but also the construction of a new port, the development of the navigation and the shipbuilding, the first loom from 1902, а printing press from the end of the 19th Century, with documents and models of the first boats and ships. А slithery, dressmaking and tailoring shop, shoemaker’s atelier, farm implements and machines are restored, with printing, weaving and brewing.

The transformation of Varna into an international resort and a summer capital of the Bulgarian culture is shown on the second floor. The cards, the beach articles, the old swimming suits are very interesting. There is an exhibition of original photos of ancient buildings, plans and maps of Varna, musical instruments, etc.

On the third floor one can be absorbed in the specific atmosphere of the city house and the life after the Liberation. There are presented also, a hotel room from the Hotel London. There is an eating-house Uncle Mityu's Café, a pastry shop, a hat shop, a toy shop and a lawyer’s and insurance offices, a photographer’s atelier, and the first bookshop in Varna. You can have your photo taken sitting behind the major’s desk.

You can get to The New History of Varna Museum by public buses 20, 17А, 39 (bus stop "Baseyna"). 

Adults: 4 lv
Children: 2 lv

Opening hours: 
May - October: 10:00-17:00hrs, day off: Monday 
November - April: 10:00 - 17:00hrs, days off: Saturday and Sunday 

Contact details:
3 ”8 November” Str.
tel: +359 52 632 677

Aladzha Monastery

Aladzha Monastery is the most famous medieval cave monastery along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It was inhabited by hermit monks during the XIII- XIV centuries.

It was in the end of XIX century when the founders of the Bulgarian archaeology- Shkorpil brothers, Karel and Hermin, began systematically to study this Christian monument. In 1927, Aladzha Monastery was declared a public historical monument and in 1968 it was declared an architectural cultural monument of national significance.

The monastery caves are hewn on two levels into an almost 40m high limestone rock. The first level consists of a monastery church, monastic cells, a dining premise and a kitchen, a small cemetery church, a crypt (bone-vault) and farm premises. The second level is a natural cave recess in the eastern end of which there is a monastery chapel.

600-700m west from the Monastery there is a group of caves known as the “Catacombs”. The items found by the archaeologists such as ceramics, coins, graffiti, etc., evidence that the Catacombs were inhabited during the early Christian Age (V-VI centuries).

After the fall of Bulgaria under the Ottoman yoke in the end of  14th  century, Aladzha Monastery has gradually declined and it was probably around 15th – 16th century when it was finally abandoned.

The Christian name of the Monastery is unknown. The name “aladzha” (alaca) is of a Persian – Arabian origin meaning “motley, bright”. At the beginning of the last century, K. Shkorpil wrote a legend according to which the patron of the monastery was St. Spas (named after Christ the Saviour).

The unusual architectural shapes and numerous legends and myths for hidden treasures and monk ghosts hovering about the ruins create a mystical and occult atmosphere attracting many admirers for decades now.

The cave monastery is situated in the central part of Golden Sands Naturе Park - a protected area with rare tree species. The beautiful nature surrounding the Monastery combined with the historical and mythological symbolism make the place a wonderful spot for cultural, eco and cult tourism.
For a century now, Aladzha Monastery has been recognised as one of the most interesting destinations along the Black Sea Coast and it is included in most of the world travel guides.

Adding to the wonderful diversity of this beautiful area there is a museum built in 70s of 20th century, where along with the permanent exposition displaying the Monastery’s history, several interesting exhibitions are held every year. In the lobby, the visitors can buy scientific editions, Bulgarian church music CDs and various souvenirs.

You can reach Aladzha Monastery by car or by public transport - bus line 29 to bus stop Aladzha Monastery or bus line 9 to bus stop Chaika.

Adults- 5 lv
Children - 2 lv
Groups over 10 persons - adults 3 lv, children 2 lv 

Opening times:
May – October:  9:00 – 17:00hrs, without a day off
November – April: 9:00 – 17:00hrs, days off: Sunday and Monday

Nature park "Golden sands"
Telephone: +359 52 355 460, +359 887 841 492

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