Founded on 3 June 1888, when a museum, part of the City Library was established, the Varna Archaeological Museum is situated in a historic building designed in the Neo-Renaissance style by the noted architect Petko Momchilov and built in 1892–1898 for the Varna Girls' School. It became state property in 1945 and since 1993 the museum occupies all of the building, parts of which it has used since 1895.
One of the largest museums in Bulgaria, it features 2,150 m² of exhibition area and displays objects from the prehistoric, Thracian, Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman periods of the region's history, as well as from the times of the medieval Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires, the Ottoman rule and the Bulgarian National Revival (including about 900 medieval and Revival icons).
The Museum's arguably most celebrated exhibit is the Gold of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world, excavated in 1972 and dating to 4600-4200 BCE, which occupies three separate exhibition halls.
Four other sites are undergoing conservation and will be added to the museum roster: the 4th-5th-century episcopal basilica on Khan Krum Street; the basilica and monastery of the same period at Dzhanavara; the 9th-10th-century Theotokos monastery and scriptorium of the Preslav Literary School at Pchelina; and the Mediaeval fortified settlement of Kastritsi at Euxinograd.
The museum has also a library, a children's study museum, a gift shop, and a cafeteria. Its courtyard lapidarium hosts the annual Varna Summer International Jazz Festival.
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