Archaeological Museum Veliki Preslav

Археологически музей В. Преслав

The concept to establish an archeological museum in Preslav came about soon after Bulgaria's liberation from the Turkish yoke. The idea was to have a museum where exhibitions would be held displaying all the monuments found in the ancient capital. This, however, did not become possible until October 1906. Under the initiative of the Preslavian teacher and socially active figure Jordan Gospodinov, and through the help of K.Shkorpil, the researcher of Bulgarian ruins, the Preslavian Archeological Association - "TICHA", was founded.

A couple of the most important tasks of the association were to arrange a museum collection of exhibits and to actively research and preserve the remains of the great capital of Simeon. Since there was no building to serve as a museum, all the exhibits collected in the following years from different private individuals and archeological excavations, were displayed in three separate exhibitions… in the city hall, in Patleina, and in the newly built cottage near The Round Church.

In 1949, a building that was meant to be a monastery was reconstructed and converted into a museum. This building was near "St. Cyril and St. Methodius" cathedral, and in immediate proximity to the ruins. All discovered items were then stocked in the new museum. This was the first time a comprehensive exposition of Preslavian history was displayed. The vast number of artifacts and newly discovered pieces from the period during Preslav’s reign as the capital city, led to the opening of a new exposition in 1958. However, some exhibits were taken out of the exposition at this time as not typically representative of this period. More than half a million people visited the Archeological Museum - "Veliki Preslav" during the next twenty years.

In connection with the 1300 year celebration since the founding of Bulgaria on the Danube River, the museum was moved to a new building that was constructed to meet the contemporary demands of the time. The exhibition’s arrangement changed as well. The administrative office was transfered from BSA (Bulgarian Science Academy) to the Cultural and Historic Heritage Administration Office in Shumen. In the first years of restored democracy, the Archeological Museum "Veliki Preslav" was separated from that large and cumbersome structure, so that the museum could develop independently. The exhibition was entirely renovated, along with the security system and the preservation conditions. A vault for the most precious pieces susceptible to atmospheric conditions was specially equipped. These innovations were the required precondition for making it possible to return to the museum, after more than twenty years absence, the most precious Preslavian collections: the Preslavian Golden Treasure, a five hundred piece lead seal (sfragistic) collection, and many other significant artifacts. After obtaining its juridical independence in 1996, the museum gained the right to directly participate in international exhibitions, co-related issues, and conducting its own archeological research.

There is no doubt that 95 years after the first exhibition of the museum in Preslav, Jordan Gospodinov would have felt his dream was finally accomplished. Today, the town of Veliki Preslav has an archeological museum of its own, displaying a magnificent collection of exhibits. It is visited by tens of thousands of Bulgarian and foreign tourists every year. The rich and diverse exhibits repesent the comprehensive so-called "Golden Age", of Preslavian Civilization. Through its Slavonic literature, arts, and crafts, this capital of Simeon’s illustrates the greatness of the European Southeast during the 9th and 10th centuries.

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