National Archaeological Museum, Sofia

National Archaeological Museum, Sofia (must see)

The largest and oldest Ottoman mosque in the city of Sofia, Koca Mahmut Pasha Camii, was the creation of Grand vizier Veli Mahmud Pasha. Mahmud was a child of the Byzantine Angelos family of Thessaloniki. He was captured by Ottomans when he was a boy and raised as a Muslim. Because of his service in the siege of Belgrade in 1456, he was made Vizier which is a high official in Ottoman empire.

Mahmud pasha died in 1474. The mosque was completed in 1494. In 1880 the mosque, like Mahmud, was captured but unlike other mosques, it did not become a church. It became a library and then a museum. The National Museum was established in the old mosque in 1893. Its first director was Czech Archeologist and scholar, Vaclav Dobrusky.

The museum still uses the ancient stone building of the mosque in spite of unfavorable conditions of humidity in the summer. New halls were added on to the museum during the years. There are five exhibition halls: Central, Prehistory, Middle Ages, Treasure, and a special hall for temporary exhibitions. All managed by the Bulgarian Academy of Science.

In the lower floor of the north wing the Prehistory hall holds items from 1,600,000 BC to 1,600 BC. The Treasury Vault hold rare and precious items from the Bronze Age to late Antiquity. The Main Hall has diverse collections of ancient Greece and Rome. The Medieval Section is on the second floor of the main building.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sofia. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

National Archaeological Museum on Map

Sight Name: National Archaeological Museum
Sight Location: Sofia, Bulgaria (See walking tours in Sofia)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Sofia, Bulgaria

Create Your Own Walk in Sofia

Create Your Own Walk in Sofia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sofia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Communist Era Landmarks Walk

Communist Era Landmarks Walk

In the not-so-distant past Bulgaria was part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. Today, this is one of the few countries where you can still find numerous relics of the Communist era manifested in monumental architectural landmarks. Concrete and metal were the main materials as a symbol of the industrialized nation, and the size was important too as a common architectural characteristic prescribed by...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.6 Km or 4.1 Miles
Sofia Introduction Walking Tour

Sofia Introduction Walking Tour

"Ever growing, never aging" This is the motto of Sofia, capital city of Bulgaria. Under different names, the area of Sofia has had a 7,000 year history. Organized settlements around the area's hot water springs existed as early as the third millennium BC. A Thracian state union there was raided by Philip II of Macedon in 339 BC.

The Celtic Serdi provided the name...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Sofia Shopping: 15 Things To Memorize Bulgaria By

Sofia Shopping: 15 Things To Memorize Bulgaria By

Increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years, Bulgaria has opened up to the outer world, revealing colorful identity, manifested in rich craftsmanship, culinary and cultural traditions and history. The country's capital city Sofia is a lovely alloy of Eastern and Western European...