History

On November 18, 1898 through  Written Statement  Nr. 9 the Teachers' Council of the State Pedagogical School made a decision  on  establishing a Museum. The existence of the Museum was legitimized by  Validation of the Statute on January 11, 1899 by the Minister of People’s  Education - Ivan Vazov. The first head of the Museum was the history teacher Todor Ikonomov.

In the summer of 1913 when Southern Dobrudzha was annexed by Romania, by the closure of all Bulgarian schools the Museum was closed. In order to save the rich collection of exhibits the same were brought to the museums in Ruse and Sofia. On the day of the Romanian occupation the Silistra teacher Metodi Bozhinov was able with great difficulties to  transfer to Sofia and to submit to the Ethnographic Museum the attributes of the last Greek Pontiff  of Silistra. Other valuable relics were brought to Ruse, including  gold utensils donated to the town by Russia in 1828.

During the period of Romanian government  of the town , the history teacher Perikle Papahadzhi created a considerable collection of antique and medieval materials which  he exhibited in the building of the Romanian High School. In 1940, after the return of South Dobrudzha to Bulgaria, this collection was brought  to Constanta and Bucharest.

On October 19, 1941 a Constituent Assembly was held to establish  the Ethnographic Museum in the town. The approved  Statutes set out the main goals of the Museum, namely: ‘a) to unite all lovers of history and ethnography in the surrounding areas; b) to act in the surroundings to collect and preserve all ethnographic values;  c) to create a special room - a museum in which all historical and ethnographic values to be preserved. Stoyan Anastasov, Novak Petrov, Yordan Ignatov, Dimitar Zhelezarov, Zhechko Rusev, Dragan Bobchev, Atanas Nedelchev and other representatives of the local intelligentsia were in the managing body  of the Museum. Because of lack of special rooms the Museum was located in one of the rooms of  Dorostol Community Center.

In the fall of 1942  a Roman vaulted tomb from IV century was discovered in the southeastern suburbs of Silistra. The Local Museum  of History and  Ethnography undertook a research  of the tomb under the direction of the secretary of the Museum Novak Petrov and of  Zhechko Rusev - a member of its governing board. The discovery of the tomb became a sensation not only for the scientific community but also for the whole public.

The financial and organizational difficulties which the Museum of History and Ethnography  encountered determined its further destiny. At a General Assembly of the members of the Museum on April 23, 1943, it was decided to terminate its existence as an independent institution and to submit its property and collected objects to Dorostol Community Center which to determine the curator of the Museum and to vote on a separate budget.

In 1947, under the leadership of Todor Toporov -  mayor of the town, the teacher Zhechko Rusev and the public figure Todor Danev, the first meeting was held to establish a Museum Council. It included the lawyer Konstantin Abadzhiev, the secretary Teodora Gigova, the editor Zhechko Rusev and members: Todor Toporov, Dragan Bobchev, Atanas Nedelchev, Boris Danev and Tsvetana Hadzhidimitrova. The town  government decided that the Museum should be housed in the then printing house of the Free Dobrudzha Newspaper.

In the period 1947-1951  curator of the museum was Zhechko Rusev. In 1951 by Ministerial Decree Nr. 1608  the Museum was given  to  District  People's Council and Tsvetana Hadzhidimitrova was appointed curator.

By decision of the Executive Committee  of District People’s Council  - Ruse of June 26, 1952, a protected area was created around the Roman Tomb and the first protective facilities were built. A committee  was established which included architect Marin Danev, Tsvetana Hadzhidimitrova and Krum Shopov, that pictured  and described all the monuments and museum collections in the district.

In 1954 a new building on Iliya Blaskov Street was given for disposal to the Silistra Museum, in which  for the first time a  permanent exhibition of the Stone Copper Epoch and the Generic  Society was arranged.
After 1959, when the District of Silistra was established, a joint plan was adopted with the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Monuments to strengthen, preserve and restore the cultural monuments in the district.
On July 1, 1961, the Museum moved into the former prison building, including   the courtyard along Otets Paisiy Street. In 23 municipalities exhibitions were opened for which over 1000 items were collected. They were included in  a large ethnographic exhibition in the Town of Silistra, which opened on October 4, 1961. The exhibition was arranged in 8 halls, 2 foyer and occupied 155 linear meters.

On April 1, 1962, the first of its kind exhibition in the country ‘Economic and Cultural Development of Silistra after  September 9, 1944’  was opened in one of the halls of the Museum.

In 1964, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the socialist revolution in Bulgaria, in the hall of the Dorostol Community Center the Museum specialists arranged a large exhibition dedicated to the workers' revolutionary movement in Silistra district.

In 1966, the construction works and the restoration of the Medzhidi Tabia Fortress and the Ethnographic Museum building were completed. In the same year the first rescue archaeological excavations of the Roman city of Durostorum began.

In 1967 the first permanent exhibitions of the Museum have been officially opened: the archaeological one  in the Medzhidi Tabia Fortress  and the ethnographic one  in the Ethnographic Museum.

In 1968, an extraordinary archeological discovery has been made in Silistra - a tomb of a superior  Roman military man, with all his  weapons and personal chariot.

In 1969, in cooperation with Clement Ohridski University  of Sofia, the systematic excavations of the medieval town of Druster  began.

By Decision of Council of Ministers No. 627 of December 28, 1971, the National Architectural and Archaeological Reserve ‘Durostorum - Druster – Silistra’ has opened.

In 1978, the Museum has opened two more permanent exhibitions at the Art Gallery: ‘The History of Capitalism and the Revolutionary Workers' Movement’ and ‘The Socialist Construction Work’.  An ethnographic complex has been established  and opened in the village of Kalipetrovo.

In 1990 the new archeological exposition has been officially opened in the renovated building of the Archaeological Museum.

By Decree Nr. 80 of April 7, 2006, the Silistra  Museum of History  has  acquired the status of a Regional  Museum of History .
In 2012, the Museum's archeological exposition has been completely renovated, with a copy of the Roman chariot and a model  of the medieval city.

Within the period 2014-2015, during the excavation works for the replacement of the sewerage network of the town, more than 30 archeological sites have been discovered and studied - mainly ancient and medieval ones, among which are the Episcopal and Patriarchal Basilica, the unknown fortress system of the ancient Durostorum, the Ottoman fortification system, ten Roman representative buildings.

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