the national art gallery + the ethnographic museum, sofia


Both museums are located in Sofia Palace dating back to the 19th century. It is a Turkish administrative building that was remodeled into a palace. It has been a heritage site since 1978.

Even though the exhibitions that I saw are not active anymore, the building itself is a very interesting space to explore.

I was one of the few visitors that day, but perhaps everyone was preparing for the exhibition opening that night – The Highlights of Croatian Art – 20th and 21st century. They simply must have known that I would be in town that day to see my people’s art.


As soon as you walk into the building you notice the beautiful glass windows in the staircase.


On the ground floor was an excellent exhibition of B&W photography by the family Karastoyanovs. It was a great introduction to Bulgarian history and folklore, with a big focus on the destruction of war. There was also a short documentary about the family and its most prominent members.

Upper floor was designated for paintings and a few modern installations in the most lavish space of the entire building.

Across the hall is the entrance to a small collection of the Ethnographic Museum. Unfortunately a lot of the artifacts got destroyed in the fire during the Second World War.

From all the things on display I was mostly excited about the clothes, its craftsmanship and the meaning behind its elements.

For anyone not familiar with Balkan traditions, it would be a nice little introduction to visit this museum.


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