Bulgaria is a country with a very rich cultural heritage. There have been preserved historical monuments from the Paleolithic Age, the Antiquity, Middle Ages, Revival period and from more recent times on the territory of the country.
nbsp;One can get acquainted with the pre-historic culture of Bulgaria mainly through the exhibitions displayed at the Archeological Museum and the Museum of National History in Sofia. Some of its exhibits are shown in the local museums in Plovdiv
, Stara Zagora
, Nova Zagora, Varna
, Veliko Turnovo
, Razgrad, Vidin, Bourgas
and etc. Some sights of particular interest are to be found near Nova Zagora(the famous Karanovska Mound, called the Noah's Ark of the European civilization), in the Magura cave
, as well as the remains from Palаeolithic cultures in several caves in the Balkan Mountain
and the Rohdope Mountain
. Traces of some seaside Neolithic and Palаeolithic cultures have been preserved in the areas starting from cape Kaliakra
and reaching down to the southern seaside resort Ahtopol. The remains of pottery and other household were dating back to the Paleolithic and the early Neolithic Ages found near Nova Zagora are extremely unique.
The culture of ancient Thracians is represented in some of the most brilliant examples of their applied arts. The most famous are the Gold Treasure Collection
from Panagyutishte, the Silver Collection from Rogozhen, the Flying Pegasus from Sveshtari and the burial urns from the Thracian tombs. Some new unique findings from Thracian times over the past few years were discovered in the Kazanluk tomb
and in the tomb near Sveshtari.The Tracians were second in number and cultural achievements in the world only to the Indians.
There have been found a lot of remains from Thracian, Old Greek and Roman culture and whole city sites have been preserved, restored and opened for the public. Some of them are Augusta Trajana, Trimoncium, Nicopolis ad Istrum
, Pautalia, Mesembria, Apolonia and many others. There has been preserved enough cultural evidence proving that the Old Greek and the Roman mythology borrowed some gods, heroes, mysteries, cults and holidays from the Thracians. The Bulgarian historical museums abound in exhibits of the ancient everyday, cultural and military life, masks, mosaics, statues of gods and heroes. Under the capital city Sofia have been excavated about 150 000 square meters of ruins from the ancient city Serdika The amphitheaters and the thermal baths in Plovdiv
, Sofia, and Varna
are of great historical value in this respect.
The invasion of the Slavs and the ancient Bulgarians brought about some new tendencies in the cultural development of the country. The Bulgarians introduced a new symbolic system of writing. The Old Greek letters were very rarely used, mainly in bilingual chronicles and texts concerning the wars between the Byzantine Empire and Bulgaria. Most of them are petroglyphs, preserved on stone. Part of the symbols may also be found on the bottoms of pottery or on papyrus. Some interesting findings of gold and bronze collections have been dated from that time for example the treasure from Nagy St. Miklos, rings of Bulgarian rulers, the sword of Khan Kubrat.
The adoption of the Christian Orthodox religion marks a new epoch in the Bulgarian history. Examples of historical monuments from the pre-Christian times are found in the capital Pliska
and not far from it is the Madara horseman
, the biggest bas-relief in Europe. Alongside with them, some churches and buildings from the First Bulgarian Empire are very interesting from historical and cultural point of view. Their remains are to be found in Veliki Preslav
as well as in many early mediaeval cities along the Black Sea coast and in the country's interior.
The 9 th century was called 'the First Golden Age of the Bulgarian culture' and is considered to mark the beginning of the Bulgarian literature. There were some early Christian monasteries that are very interesting in cultural and architectural respect. The most imposing of them is the Rila monastery
built as early as the 10 th century. Many fortresses were built after the liberation from Byzantine rule - in Vidin, Cherven
, Beroe, Sredetz, Assenovgrad
, Belogradchik and many other Medieval cities, which have been preserved and nowadays. There are magnificent frescos in the churches and the monasteries from that period. The frescos in the Boyana church
near have been compared to the best Renaissance models, though actually preceding them with a century and a half. Тhe hesichastic monasteries, among wich the Ivanovo
, the Aladja
and the Batchkovo
are examples of the savoir faire of their builders, icon painters and wood carvers. The archaeological complex of Tsarevets
of the ancient capital Veliko Turnovo
is very imposing. The incredible city layout, the walls, the churches, towers used by the Bulgarians in their everyday life and especially the site in the nearby village Arbanassi
reveal the erudition and the mastery of the Bulgarian rulers.
After the invasion of the Ottoman Turks Bulgaria's culture went to decline. The construction of new monasteries started in the 17 th and 18 th centuries. Some icon painters and wood-carving schools were built in Tryavna
, Debur and Bansko
. The architecture during the Revival had very distinctive features. Wood, stone and limestone were the basic construction materials. Very characteristic of the period are the earthen floors, the little fireplaces, the wood carved ceilings, the low doors and the window seats. Some fine examples of it may be found in Koprivshtitsa, Veliko Turnovo
, Shiroka luka
, Staro Stefanovo.