Natural History Museum

Opening Hours

Winter
October – April: 10.00 – 17.00 (Saturday and Sunday closed)
SummerMay – September: 10.00 – 17.00 (Monday closed)

Information

Address
Varna, Marine Gardens – Varna
(Near the playground opposite the underway to the Palace of Culture and Sports.)

Phone
+ 359 52 618011

ABOUT THE MUSEUM

The Natural History Museum in Varna studies and promotes the organismal world of the Black Sea and the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Since 1962, the museum’s exposition has helped the education in Varna Municipality. On the idea of the first museum curator and head of the department Ivan Peshev a museum space with a limited area was organized on an evolutionary principle with the aim of making it easier for students to learn the laws and phenomena in nature. There were three sections: Geology and Paleontology, Flora and Vegetation and Animal World.

The building of the Varna Natural History Museum is located in the northern part of the Sea Garden and was built in 1917-1918 by the then Ministry of War for the needs of the border troops as the headquarters of the 15th border regiment of the Varna Military District. Due to the long-term management by the military until 1955, the place where the museum is now located was known under the name “Border Corner”.

The work on the creation of the Natural History Museum in Varna began in the first days of April 1960, when the building was made available for arranging an exposition. Shortly before that, on March 22 the same year, the first curator of the museum took office – Ivan Peshev.

The creation of the initial museum collection began with the search of materials and specimens. The Hunting and Fishing Society and the Aquarium provide free-of-charge stuffed birds. Stuffed mammals and birds were also purchased from the amateur taxidermist Georgi Doikov. Simultaneously with the creation of the collection, a thematic exhibition plan was prepared, the main parts of which were in according to the characteristcs of the local nature and the existing materials. Valuable assistance, opinions and recommendations were provided by researchers from the Institute of Fisheries and personally by its director Prof. Alexander Vulkanov.

The arrangement of the exposition was preceded by a renovation of the building, which took place in 1961 and lasted several months. The artistic layout began at the beginning of 1962 and was assigned to the artists Nikolay Daskalov and Stoyan Atanasov.

The layout was distinguished by a light structural form of the furniture, colorfulness, brevity of the exhibition and skillful arrangement of the exhibits.

The museum was officially opened on July 22, 1962 by Vasil Nikolov – head of the “Education and Culture” department at the State National Museum in Varna. With decision No. 4 of 22.06.1983 of the Chairmanship of the Culture Committee regarding the structure of natural history museums in the country, the scope of the Varna Natural History Museum was expanded and developed as a museum of the nature of the Black Sea (shelf geology, hydrology, organismal world) and on the entire coastal land strip of Bulgaria, with its sand-loving flora and fauna, with the longose forests and coastal lakes.

In 2008, after a major renovation, a complete reorganization of the “Geology and Paleontology” section was carried out, where for educational purposes at a modern popular science level, the complete classification of minerals according to the systematic scale of the world-famous Bulgarian scientist-mineralogist Ivan Kostov from 1993 was displayed, the origin of the rocks, as well as the most up-to-date geochronological table from 2008. Fossils from the Mesozoic and Neozoic are exhibited, including impressive remains of proboscis mammals that inhabited our coast. The only fossil teeth found in Bulgaria from the prehistoric elephants Dinoterium and Protanancus were exhibited for the first time.

PERMANENT EXHIBIT

A total of 1,036 exhibits are displayed in the museum’s six exhibition halls, of which 72 are minerals and rock specimens, 67 fossils, 38 herbarium plants, 573 invertebrates and 186 vertebrates. In the botanical section, representatives of the algae, longose vegetation, rare and protected, endemic species for the Balkan Peninsula and Bulgaria are exhibited. Among the animal species there are rare and globally endangered species such as Red-necked Goose, Great Bustard, Steppe Ferret, etc. A place among the specimens is also reserved for the famous inhabitants of the Varna Zoo, such as Marta the brown bear and Gero the tiger.

Particularly interesting are the three dioramas that present organisms in their natural environment in several thematic areas: Seabed, Forest and Lake Ecosystems.

The “Geology and Paleontology” section presents the origin of life on the planet Earth according to the most current biostratigraphic scale and geochronological table. The basic concepts in geology, paleontology and mineralogy are explained at a modern popular-science level, and the complete systematic classification of minerals is illustrated. The main types of rocks and their origin are exhibited, as well as impressive rare mineral specimens from the museum collection: calcite and quartz drusen, manganocalcite, agate, jasper, charoite and ruby. A place is also reserved for the minerals in Eastern Bulgaria: manganese ore, oil, hard coal, rock salt, etc. Two show cases display fossils from the Mesozoic and Neozoic eras found in Northeastern Bulgaria and the Black Sea coast. Visitors’ attention is drawn to teeth and jaws of giant mammals: mammoth, mastodon, rhinoceros, as well as fossil fish, sea urchins, ammonites, belemnites, nautiluses. For the first time one can see the lower jaw of the prehistoric elephant Deinotherium giganteum discovered in the vicinity of the town of Aksakovo – the largest land mammal that ever lived on our planet and the first and so far the only European find of teeth from the prehistoric elephant of the genus Protanancus,. found so far only in Asia and Africa. The visitors can also see the latest hypothesis about the origin of the natural phenomenon Petrified Forest.  

This online platform was developed under the project  № BGCULTURE-1.001-0005-C01 “Developing the Varna Regional Museum of History as a Multifunctional Public Space for Science, Art, Culture and Communication”, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants 2014-2021, Programme PA14 Cultural Entrepreneurship, Heritage and Cooperation. Varna Regional Museum of History is fully responsible for the content of the of the online platform and under no circumstances can be assumed that this online platform reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the   Programme PA14 Cultural Entrepreneurship, Heritage and Cooperation.

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