Tour of Bulgarian museums in March 2010

Saturday, March 20: Spring has sprung

We spontaneously changed our plans and did not stay at Yambol for the night but at Radnevo. The hotel we are staying in functions as a base camp for the team of the archaeological excavations conducted by Krum Băčvarov. They will be continuing excavations of a late Neolithic cult place nearby. We visited the excavated area (lying along the route of the planned highway) earlier, and it was there we saw our first stork for the year. This is important since, according to Bulgarian tradition, you are supposed to take off your martenitsa (a red-and-white wristlet that people give each other as a present on March 1st) as soon as you see the first sign of spring, e. g. a swallow or a stork. Then you are supposed to fasten the wristlet to a tree. And if you look closely, there are already martenitsi hanging on trees and bushes, an unmistakable sign for the arrival of spring. Another sign is that we realize it is suddenly much too warm for all the pullovers we brought :)

Martenitsi hanging in trees.

Of course we also visited some museums: Kazanlăk and Stara Zagora. In Kazanlăk we searched and searched and finally found the museum only by accident since we parked and asked for directions only a block away from the museum. Well, you ought to get lucky every now and then. Who needs road signs? Not us!

The museum at Kazanlăk.

The collection in the museum consists, concerning the Chalcolithic, especially of finds from Tell Kazanlăk. Centre-pieces are, however, doubtlessly finds from the Thracian period, especially from the tomb of Seuthes III. Very, very beautiful. Close to the city, there is also the famous Thracian tomb of Kazanlăk that can be visited. We skipped that, however, since we will meet Krum at Stara Zagora. And anyhow, let’s be honest: we are not here for the Thracians. After Perperikon and Aleksandrovo we have had enough younger prehistory, thanks :)

We knew Stara Zagora from former visits, but then we had only visited the museum at the district hospital where you can see the Neolithic houses in situ. But today we were for the first time at the newly-opened museum in the city centre. Inside there is also an in situ preserved archaeological feature, in this case a Roman road. Very impressing!

A souvenir from Stara Zagora.

The prehistoric collection of the museum is richly furnished with finds from the many big locations in and around Stara Zagora (Azmak, Bereketska Mogila et cetera). Therefore, it is a must for all researchers dealing with the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and early Bronze Age. We also bought some more books: some older copies of Izvestija na Muzejte ot Jugoiztočna Bălgarija and some quite new copies of Izvestija na Starozagorskija Istoričeski Muzej. We are a rolling library!

In a moment there will be dinner with Krum’s equipe. They promissed us a local specialty as a surpise that we must try. We are curious. What will it be? Marinated sheep’s eye?

March 21: Home Sweet Home >