National Museum of Natural History (Sofia)

National Museum of Natural History



National Museum of Natural History in Sofia Bulgaria is located just between National Art Gallery (former Royal Palace) and Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas. It contains a descent collection of animals, fossils, butterflies from around the World and other curiosities. Additionally it has fossilised remains of ancient forest in the museum's lobby discovered in the country.


The National Museum of Natural History was established in 1889 as the Natural History Museum of Prince Ferdinand. The exposition was opened to visitors in 1907. Acad. Dr. Ivan Buresh, director of the museum from 1914 to 1947, made it a modern center for zoology and botany in Bulgaria and a major part of the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences. Between 1959 and 1965, under the leadership of Prof. Georgi Paspalev, the museum was closed to visitors and its exhibit area was greatly reduced. Its status is reduced to the "Museum" section of Institute of Zoology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences with the editor of the ornithologist Nikolay Boev.

The building of the museum was demolished in 1944 during the Anglo-American bombing of Sofia.

The National Museum of Natural History was established in 1974 as an independent institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 1995, based on the collections of the local biology teacher Dimitar Kovachev, at the initiative of Prof. Nikolay Spasov, the Paleontological Museum was established in Asenovgrad, a branch of the NPM, which holds a unique collection of fossil mammals.

In addition to the specialized museum activity related to the enrichment and maintenance of the collections, the research work of the contributors is related to contemporary international and national priorities in the field of biodiversity, geology, ecology and environmental protection. Since 1989, the museum has been publishing the scientific series "Historia naturalis bulgarica". NPM is the seat of the non-governmental organizations Bulgarian Ornithological Society and Bats Research and Protection Group.