Museums in the Balkan Peninsula
Brimming with dramatic history, Balkan Peninsula museums are moving and unique. Ancient Greek and Dacian, Byzantine and Venetian civilizations left an enormous imprint; today’s artists express the energy of a modern metamorphosis.
Many museums in Bulgaria are ruins if former inhabitants. Traces of Roman fortress walls and forums, temples and thermae, amphitheatres, and stadiums have been partially restored to give an idea of the skills of the builders and architects of yore. Among the best known are the ancient theatre in Plovdiv, the Roman thermae in Varna, the museum display in the open of Sexaginta Prista in the central part of Rouse, the impressive remains of ancient thermae in Kyustendil and many more. Very interesting and highly valuable are the late Antiquity floor mosaics from Augusta Trajana (present-day Stara Zagora), the Roman and early Byzantine mosaics of what had once been Martianopolis (an archaeological reserve), the mosaics in the Mosaics Museum, the only one of its kind, in Devnya. Veliko Turnovo has been the living symbol of Bulgarian statehood over the ages.
In Serbia today there are around 100 museums, the majority of which are housed in buildings which are themselves protected cultural properties. The oldest collection is at the National Museum in Belgrade in 1844, where the idea to collect, safeguard and display materials that illustrate the history of the Serbian people was turned into a reality. Galleries in Serbia are most commonly housed as part of other cultural institutions (museums, cultural centers and artistic associations) or represent independent projects by artistic groups or companies. In recent years there have been increasing numbers of modern multimedia galleries, with attractive displays by local and foreign applied and fine artists.
Zagreb is home to the The Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU), the biggest and most contemporary museum institution in Croatia. The grand new building of architect Igor Franić, exhibits art and hosts , various programs, educational work-shops, film screenings and theatre performances, so it’s a perfect place for family outings, entertainment and new knowledge.
Greece is as strewn with museums as it is ancient ruins, including over 200 State museums and more than 100 private museums. Here you will have the opportunity to admire unique works of art and sciences and trace over 6,000 years of history. In addition to the archaeological and Byzantine classics, there are also museums dedicated to Asian, Plastic, Music and Theatrical Art Museums as well as Cinema and Photography Museums. It’s not all “dusty relics”; visit the Nautical Museum of Greece in Piraeus or one of several folklore museums that let you imagine daily life in living color.
Within the Museum of Natural History in Montenegro you can learn about invertebrates, angiosperms and ferns, moss, mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, mushrooms, algae, amphibians, as visit the the bugs in the entomological and palaeozoological collection. The Museum of the Revolution archives documents, photographs, letters and printed items from the time of the forming of the first communist community at the Adriatic coast. The Museum of Local History in Bar is housed in the magnificent building of the castle of King Nikola from 1885, close to the sea, surrounded by a park with different types of tropical plants. In the Museum you are led through the cultural development of Bar, from prehistory to the Middle Ages, by an archaeological, ethnographic and historical collection.
To soak up the culture, history and special features of Slovenia, walk through the doors to museums and galleries. The major collections are kept in the National, Natural Science and Ethnographic museums. The Museum of the First World War in Kobarid evokes the courage of the local people enduring the hardships of mountain warfare. Larger towns have regional museums, while the various thematic museums, such as the Architectural and Technical museums, are special attractions. Throughout Slovenia there are galleries and fine art exhibitions centres. The leading institutions are the National Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, along with the International Graphic Art Centre. Slovenian towns also feature dozens of private galleries, while city fine art exhibition venues are also common.