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30 may '16

The National Museum of History begins its 2016 archeological campaign

The excavations of the town from the ‘jungle’ – Farmakida started under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov, Deputy Director of the National Museum of History. This small but rich town, situated in the dense forest along the navigable part of Ropotamo River, had intense trade contacts with the Mediterranean, Athens, the Islands of Crete and Thasos and, as a result, accumulated considerable wealth, traces of which are still there for the lucky archeologists. The excavations are entirely funded by the Municipality of Primorsko, pleased to discover at long last the antique predecessor of today’s new town (Primorsko was declared a town a few years ago). Until recently, the lack of findings pointing towards an antique predecessor was disappointing, contrary to the situation of neighboring towns– Sozopol, Ahtopol, Chernomorets, Nessebur, Anhialo.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krastina Panayotova began excavations at the Skamni Peninsula in the Old Town of Sozopol
The Skamni peninsula is located at the very edge of the larger peninsula where the antique town was situated, but because of poor weather conditions (strong winds blow from all directions in winter) it was not inhabited as the rest of the larger Black Sea peninsulas. Instead, it was used by people in the old times for the erection of public buildings, mostly temples. Until now, the excavations under the program “Via Pontica” discovered the so-called Castrum Domini (Castle of the ruler) and a large monastery. It was built by Athanasios Paleologos, brother-in-law of Tzar Mihail Shishman (1322-1330) and brother of the Emperor. Tzar Mihail Shishman was married to his sister and mercifully gave this territory to Athanasios Paleologos to build a monastery since his life was endangered by his ideological opponents in Constantinople – the Hesychasts. Later, because of lack of funding, the excavations were discontinued for a few years, until now, when the work will be restarted by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krastina Panayotova with funds provided by the National Museum of History.
Important ongoing reconstructions at the National Museum of History
Hall 2 presents the Thracian/Roman Antiquity and will be reorganized in the framework of a project won by the Museum from the Ministry of Culture. A smaller hall will be introduced with portraits of five Roman Emperors as well as decorated ceramics from Apollonia Pontica.
Hall 3 is prepared to welcome the royal crowns, thanks entirely to the funding received from Prof. Dr. Luchezar Tzotzorkov who donated 1, 5 kg pure gold for the crowns, Elena Vasileva who donated more than 1000 pearls, and the jeweler Stoycho Vezenkov, who donated his labor.
During the summer season the National Museum of History will welcome visitors with many new exhibits.
The end of the rains in Northeastern Bulgaria permitted the start of intensive work on the fourth important task of the National Museum of History for this year – restoration of the Big Basilica 
Thanks to a government funding amounting to 770 000 leva and donations sent by patriotic Bulgarians, living and working in the country and abroad, the work will begin on a large scale. The stones for the restoration were donated by the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communication. They were taken from the railway stations and equipment, built along the railway line Ruse-Varna in the 19th century by Midhat Pasha with stolen stones from the Big Basilica and the Monastery, situated in the vicinity.