The Varna Archaeological Museum established in 1906 is one of the biggest and richest museums in Bulgaria. It hosts valuable artifacts from the Prehistoric, Ancient and Medieval eras, as well as a large gallery with Orthodox icons. An extremely precious and unique part of the exposition are the findings from the Varna Eneolothic Necropolis - the oldes processed gold in the world (V millenium B.C.).
The Ancient era is represented through hundreds of artifacts shwoing the life in Odessos and the vicinities since the establishment of the city in the early 6th century B.C. until its destruction in the early 7th century. Interesting findings from nearby towns and villages are also included in the exposition. Of interest among the ancient monuments are:
- an almost natural sized head from marble statue dating from the 5th century B.C. According to the most common interpretation this is the head of Apollo - one of the traditional patrons of Odessos since the establishment of the Milesian colony;
- marble relieves of Heros Karabazmos and Artemis Phosphorus 2nd - 1st century B.C. found in the temple dedicated to them near the Small Thermae;
- terracotta figurines from the Hellenistic era representing the Great God of Odessos - another patron of the city but with a local origin;
- findings from the Big Roman Thermae - among them: fragments of sculptures of Asclepius and Hygeia from the sanctuary; sculptures of Heracles, Nike and Hermes from the architectural decoration of the building; an image of a phallus in relief - a sign of the presence of a brothel, ect;
- tomb stones with exquisite figures in relief;
- an impressive collection of medical instrucments - burial gifts form the tomb of a ROman physician excavated in the nearby town of Dionysiopolis (Balchik);
- ephebic decrees of the city assembly of Odessos with the names of the local youth who in the mentioned year received civil rights;
- a marbel poster for gladiatorial games in the town (3rd century);
- a rich collection of marble and bronze sculptures and marble relieves of Greek, Thracian and other deities;
- reliquaries and relics of Early Christian Saints;
- the most beautiful mosacis from the Early Byzantine cathedral of Odessos (5th century);
- last but not least: ancient gold and silver treaures and such with precious and semiprecious stones. Without any doubt among them we can single out a pair of gold earrings with the figure of the goddess Nike (4th - 3rd century B.C.) and a set of Early Christian reliquaries made respectively from gold, silver and finest marble (6th century).
All Images by kind permission of the Varna Archaeological Museum