Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

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Corridor: Diagonal Road, Western Trans-Balkan Road, Sofia-Ohrid Road
Country: Bulgaria, Sofia

The Ethnographic Museum is founded in 1892 as a department of the Popular Museum (today's Archeological Museum). It became an independent museum in 1906 with the completion of the collection of works of traditional Bulgarian handcrafts, costumes, fabrics, carpets, embroideries, musical instruments, objects of the interior decoration as well as of farm tools. Its first director was Dimiter Marinov, a connoisseur and scholar of Bulgarian folk culture, whose scientific works are valued highly to date and provide the foundation of Bulgarian ethnography. Since 1949 the Ethnographic Museum became a part of the system of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences under the umbrella of the Ethnographic Institute. The museum collection today treasures more than 50 000 exhibits, which are samples of the Bulgarian traditional folk arts and crafts collected from all territories historically inhabited by Bulgarians over the period mid-17th - mid-20th centuries. On the basic of all this it was given the status of a National Ethnographic Museum (NEM) in 1969. The Museum is housed in the premises of the former Royal Palace, a remarkable building in the center of Sofia, of the end of the 19th century - a monument of culture. The Museum's mission is to collect, preserve and exhibit the ethno-cultural heritage of the Bulgarians and the other ethnoses, which inhabit the Bulgarian Lands. Over the past ten years the museum has shown, independently or jointly with other museums, more than 50 exhibitions at home and abroad.