Museums @home- Part 1, virtual tours of museums in Sofia and Bulgaria
Cover image: “Young Women Bleaching Cloth” by Vladimir Dimitrov-Maystora, National Gallery in Sofia
Reading time: 3 min.
You don’t have 3 minutes to read? Go only through the bold font – 1 min.
You don’t have time to visit museums? Watch straight the video downwards- 6:49 min. See below movie soundtrack credentials.
The blog placescases.com is dedicated to interesting places and events. While we were locked down at home due to the emergency with the Corona virus pandemic, we thought we were deprived of the opportunity to visit them. However, we found that we can continue to enjoy them, albeit virtually.
In Theater @home, I posted a long list of theatrical stages that stream their performances online to keep in touch with their audiences.
In a series of 8 Gourmet @home publications, which still goes on, I told about restaurants and bars in Sofia that deliver their delicious gastronomic and mixological works to their customers’ homes.
The advantages of virtual dinners with friends in a lockdown situation were discussed in Do virtual dinners lead to domestic alcoholism?.
It turned out that it can be very interesting at home and we can spend a few weeks in peace and fun without going out much. It even became clear that we can visit extremely interesting places in the world and in our country, such as the ones I am writing about in @home rubric.
My focus this time is on the museums, which world holiday is May 18. On this day, museums and galleries in Bulgaria opened their doors for visits.
So, I present to your attention a list of museums in Bulgaria and around the world, which you can visit virtually, to see interesting paintings, exhibits, all kinds of artifacts. From them, in an easier and more accessible way, you learn interesting things about the art and history of the world… and why not plan your next trip to an interesting destination to see live, the exhibition you liked the most. Even here in the blog, in the box on the side, you can make a reservation on booking.com for your stay there.
I start with Bulgarian museums and galleries.
- I can’t help but open this presentation with the National History Museum of Bulgaria.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing this post, the museum was not yet working with on-site visits, but they do have a nice site that includes an Electronic Resources section. There you can access information and photos from some exhibits of great historical significance. Separately in the Expositions section there is a tab Virtual, where various topics are published, again with photos and information. Great source for children’s school projects. They virtually visit the museum, get excited to see it live and apply a very valuable skill to self-study, from a reliable source.
- Regional History Museum Sofia, or as we know it, the Sofia Museum.
I personally recommend visiting the place because it is very interesting. It is useful for Sofia residents to learn more about the ancient and modern history of the city. For children, too, because they can see how citizens lived in older times. There are great exhibits such as an ex-premier of Bulgaria, Stefan Stambolov’s desk, the king’s carriage, later the car he bought, an old tram that children love to get into, sit on the old seats and watch a short educational video.
Here are some photos directly from the place of the event, taken on the Bulgarian National Holiday, March 3, 2020:
On their website there is a section Virtual exhibitions, only in Bulgarian, with information and photos, but this is far from enough to see how interesting a place is the Museum of Sofia. Even the building itself is a monument – an old SPA from Roman times, under which healing mineral water gushes for centuries.
The website of the Sofia Regional Museum has links to the regional museums of Botevgrad, Etropole, Samokov, Ihtiman, Pravets, Koprivshtitsa.
- To learn more about the military exploits of the Bulgarian Army and its fearless wariors, you must go to the National Museum of Military History. There are 360 degree photos. I recommend that you click on the link and take a look, you will surely be eager to go to the place this weekend.
- Many beautiful photos of collections of stones can be viewed on the website of the “Earth and Man” National Museum in Sofia. To the delight of Sofia residents, it is now open for visits.
- Decent site of the National Literature Museum provides information and access to virtual walks, 360 degree photos of houses-museums of Peyo Yavorov, Slaveykovi, Stoyan Chilingirov, Dimitar Dimov, Nikola Vaptsarov, Ivan Vazov. All these people had very important role in Bulgarian culture. Unfortunately the site is not translated in English. The phots are played by Adobe Flash and you may need to open them through Internet Explorer.
- A regular stop in our city walks is the Sofia City Art Gallery. It has some virtual tours on its Facebook page and it is already open for visits.
- One of the museums in Sofia that I visit regularly with my family is the National Gallery. Everything there is very interesting – the building, which is a former palace, the exhibitions of the most famous artists in Bulgaria, the exhibitions of exceptional foreign artists. I must include Square 500 here (in Bulgarian language Kvadrat 500). And while walking in the park of the National Palace of Culture, behind the mall Park Center, stop at the building Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art. We do it regularly and every time there is some interesting provocation. Often even the exhibitions are interactive. The site contains information about the current exhibition, supported by photos.
There are many videos in the Exhibitions section of the National Gallery’s website. The Collections section contains photos. A wonderful source for preparing students for school projects. Besides, the museum in included in the world cultural treasure Google Arts&Culture.
It was there that I learned that in one of Ivan Markvichka’s most famous paintings, “Rachenitsa”, the model of the central figure was the Irish journalist, an advocate for the Bulgarian cause, who lived in Sofia from 1892 to 1915, James Bourchier.
You can see a full list of museums in Sofia here, and galleries at https://sofia-art-galleries.com/.
The wonderful music in the movie is by an exceptional Bulgarian ethno-jazz band – Outhentic and was used with their kind permission.
In the first song, “Slanchitse, milo, mamino” the performers are Zhivko Vassilev (kaval and piano), Raina Vasileva (vocals), Viktor Dzhorgov (guitar). It is from the band’s first album, called “YesToday”. Here is a link to buy the album.
In the second song, “Razoral dedo”, Raina sings again and Zhivko plays again, but besides them Borislav Iliev (guitar and tambouria) and Stoil Ivanov (drums, percussion) also play. It is from their second album “Transparent”.
The music was recorded, mixed and mastered by Svilen Angelov.
- I would personally plan a trip to the Rose Valley of Bulgaria, for which children learn in primary school and in particular – the town of Karlovo. There in the obligatory program is the House-Museum of Vasil Levski. He is the most important figure in the Bulgarian struggle for liberation from Ottoman Empire. The site is neat and cozy, it has a virtual tour and a short movie.
- The Municipal Historical Museum of Karlovo is also an interesting attraction for the curious.
- One of the favorite destinations of our family in Bulgaria is Plovdiv. The old town is full of houses-museums, exhibitions, small cobbled streets with artisan shops. An obligatory stop is the Regional Ethnographic Museum. It has also found a place in the virtual galleries of Google Arts&Culture. The museum’s website also offers a virtual tour.
- Since May 18, the Varna City Art Gallery is also present in Google Arts&Culture and has made a virtual tour of its website.
The most interesting museums for kids
- For the little ones, with a rich entertainment and educational program on site, but also an option for a virtual visit, there is the National Polytechnic Museum in Sofia. If you are already wondering what to do with these kids at home, show them the museum’s website and walk them virtually around its halls. You will definitely need to plan a site visit later.
There is a fairly well-organized list of museums in Bulgaria, national, regional, municipal, private on the website http://www.museology.bg/
The next post in this Museums @home sequel is a list of museums and galleries around the world with virtual access to their halls.
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Sources of videos and photos: sites and Facebook pages of the listed museums (I have published links to them), as well as Google Arts & Culture.