HISTORICAL MUSEUM – TOWN OF ORIAHOVO
The Historical Museum in Oriahovo keeps and displays interesting evidence of the past of the Region of Oriahovo. Its exhibitions introduce visitors to the world of people of different epochs, revealing the peculiarities of their material and spiritual culture. Here everybody has access to information about the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. It is the place from which in the most intriguing way one can start one’s tour of the town.
The foundation of the museum is connected to the establishment of a District Archeological Society, which takes the responsibility for the maintenance of the existing archeological collection of the Community Centre. The Statutes of the Archeological Society were affirmed by the force of an order of the Ministry of Education of 16.03.1939 – the date which is considered the opening date of the Museum. Nikola Kotsev was appointed the first curator. Since 1954 the Museum has been housed in its own building erected at the end of XIX c. – the beginning of XX c., in which Filip Similov lived – a Renaissance figure who settled in Oriahovo after the Liberation of Bulgaria and established here an ink factory. The building is characterized by the typical features of the secession architectural style. From the interior of the house a beautiful round Viennese staircase is preserved which connects the 1st and the 2nd floors. The repairs made to the building in the framework of the Program for Rural Regions Development create suitable conditions for the storage and display of cultural assets. On the first floor there are the halls to be visited, two of which house standing exhibitions – “Archeology” and “Renaissance”. In the third hall temporary exhibitions are displayed.
The archeology hall attracts attention with the most representative exhibits dating from the Paleolithic to the late Middle Ages, found on the territory of the Municipality of Oriahovo. At the beginning the visitor can see fossil remnants of a mammoth, dating from almost 12 millennia. Found in the mounds along the banks of the Danube, the exhibited teeth, tusks and vertebrae prove the existence of those 5-metre high animals in the vicinity of the town. What follows is tools and pottery of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies that inhabited the region in VI – V millennium BC. Among the artifacts from the Bronze Age – the second quarter of III – end of II millennium BC the most interesting objects are the bronze late-Mycenaean sword, the anthropomorphic statue and the military stone hammers-axes. The Iron Age – end of II-beg of I millennium BC is the time of the Thracian tribe Tribals. From this period Thracian jewelry and pottery are presented, next to which you can see funeral exhibits such as parts of reigns and spurs excavated from Markov Mound and an urn from a flat necropolis found in the area called Tabiata. With the invasion of Roman military troops in I c. BC a new epoch commences marked by the construction of the fortresses Variana, Valeriana, Pedoniana, Burgozonus and Aedava. Remarkable remnants of Roman culture are the glass lacrimarium, the fibulas, clay lamps and pottery. Here is the only place where two exceptionally valuable exhibits can be seen presenting early Christian art on Bulgarian lands – the statue “The Good Shepherd” (IV c.) and a marble cross (end of IV c – beg. V c.), which have been exhibited, among other objects, in Rome and Brussels. The exposition finishes with objects from early and late Middle Ages (IX – XIV c.) – pottery, iron tools and ends of lances. The majority of them have been found in the fortress The Stone, explored through archeological excavations in 1969 – 1971 by Dora Dimitrova.
The second hall – “Renaissance” – presents Oriahovo in the period XVIII-XIX c., as an administrative and economic centre in the Ottoman Empire. Here visitors can learn about the events during the Russian-Turkish Wars of 1806-1812 and 1828-1829. The development of enlightenment and church struggle are displayed. There is also an emphasis on the work of the local revolutionary committee. Another important topic is the battles for the liberation of the town by Romanian and Russian military units under the leadership of Col. Slanichanu and General Meyendorff during the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78. The displayed handicraft and church objects, the wooden clogs, books and the rich collection of weapons complete the exposition.
The third hall houses different exhibitions. In the entrance hall presentations are made, dedicated to events and personalities from Bulgarian history and the past of the region of Oriahovo.
Dr. Evgeniya Naidenova,
Director of Historical Museum, Town of Oriahovo