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Bulgarian National Museum of Military History

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For the end just couple of military related monuments, off topic but might be interesting to some.

Monument to the Tsar Liberator (Alexander II of Russia), placed in front of the National Assembly.




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Monument of Bulgarian Volunteers in Liberation War, close to Nevsky church. There is an antiques market with lot of interesting military related items around it.


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Monument to the Unknown Soldier, next to the Church of Saint Sophia.



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Mound of Brotherhood.




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Here's the link to museum website with description of the exhibits. It looks like an amazing place and I would love to visit it someday!


Exhibitions related to awards:

Decorations – orders, symbols, medals, badges, plaquettes


The collection “Decorations” is the richest collection of Bulgarian and foreign orders, medals and symbols in Bulgaria. Its wealth consists of the variety of rare emissions, the possession of the highest classes and their single orders, the extreme aspectual diversity. The museum is owner of the personal collections of the Bulgarian rulers after 1879; of the superior generals- D.Nikolaev, N. Ivanov, R. Petrov, M. Savov, R. Dimitriev, N. Genev, Al. Protogerov St.Tochev, Vl. Stoichev, P. Panchevski, Iv. Mihailov; of statesmen – St. Stambolov, K. Stoilov, of hundreds of Bulgarian soldiers, non- commissioned officers and officers, participants in five wars in a period of 67 years.

In the collection are completed the highest decorations of the European countries from the end of XIX c. to the middle of XX c. 35 countries from Europe are presented with their decorations, 6 countries from Asia and 3 from America.

The collection represents a stage of researches and a historical parallel of the national and military histories and a symbolism for a period of 150 years.

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“Decorations of Bulgarian heads of state” Collection hall

vlad.orden-1.jpg The National Museum of Military History is the only museum in Bulgaria, which possesses, proved with documents, decorations of Bulgarian heads of state.

The collection of decorations of Prince Alexander I was donated by his wife, The Countess of Hartenau- Battemberg , within 1937 and 1938. For this donation the countess was awarded witth the golden badge for donators of the fund “Military Monuments and Graves”. She had been its honorary president till her death. The collection includes more than 150 decorations ; 50 of them are displayed in the hall.

The decorations, displayed in the collection hall , have emblematic presence in history and in the present , not only because they were possessed by heads of state of Bulgaria and Commanders- in Chiefs of the Bulgarian Army. To be awarded with such high decoration is the language of policy and diplomacy.

These decorations embody one century of history. They are a part of our heritage and the legitimacy of our country. Their presence here together is a part of the dialogue between the generations about our heritage and our memory.

The decorations of Tsar Boris III were given by the Commandant of the Palace , as was the personal wish and insistence of his wife Tsarina Johana. The royal family is a traditional donator of the National Museum of Military History. Thanks to it the museum possesses at present decorations, uniforms and personal belongings of Tsar Ferdinand I, Princess Marie- Luise, Tsarina Eleonor and Princess Clementine. The collection of Tsar Boris III includes 98 decorations; 36 of them are displayed in the hall.



Awarding of a head of state with order or medal is a part of the great tale of history, with sweet taste of victories, or bitterness of dreams that never came true. Our society conferred us the right to preserve unique richness. It is our duty to share it with the world , because we believe, that culture is a language without frontiers and it aims to make the world a better place.

The collection of decorations of Todor Zhivkov, a Bulgarian head of state, consecutively, President of the Council of Ministers and President of the Council of State of the Republic of Bulgaria , is given to the museum by his heirs in May 2005 to be displayed temporarily.

It comprises 73 decorations; 57 of them are displayed in the hall. The visitors can see in it as orders of the countries of the socialist camp, so some traditionally familiar decorations of countries of the European continent. The unknown for the Bulgarian visitors orders of countries of Asia, Africa and America call forth extreme interest in our audience.



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“Bulgarian decorations” Collection hall

The foundation, evolution and cancellation of every order are a part of the great tale of history. To look into the past and the present day through orders and medals means to touch the ideals and the culture of the Bulgarian people and to make an attempt to get involved in its spirit. The collection of orders and medals, property of the National Museum of Military History has been completed for 90 years, mostly by large donations. It is the richest of that kind collection in Bulgaria.

orden-03.jpgIn the hall, through the display of 980 decorations, is presented only a part of this collection. The opulence shows in variety of rare emissions, in possession of the highest grades and their unique orders and experimental samples, in exceptional variety of types.

In the collection are presented with their decorations 35 countries from Europe, 6- from Asia and 3 from America. The collection is a field for investigation and historical comparison of Bulgarian and European military history and symbolic for a period of 150 years.

The museum possesses private collections of hundreds of Bulgarian soldiers, non- commissioned officers and officers, who bore on their shoulders the brunt of five wars throughout 67 years. The private collections of the highest generals- Danail Nikolaev, Nikola Ivanov , Racho Petrov, Mihail Savov, Radko Dimitriev, Nikola Genev ,Aleksandar Protogerov, Stefan Tochev, orden-02.jpgVladimir Stoichev, Petar Panchevski, Ivan Michailov etc . are also museum’s property. In decorations’ collection are preserved orders and medals of members of state administration- Stefan Stambolov, Konstantin Stoilov ; as well as of the Bulgarian rulers after 1879- Prince Alexander I, Prince (since 1908 Tsar) Ferdinand I and Tsar Boris III.


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“Bulgarian military uniforms” Collection hall

uni-1.jpg The National Museum of Military History is the only one in the country, which preserves the evolution of Bulgarian military uniform, accessories and equipment. The presence in the collection of all the models of Bulgarian military uniforms, of soldiers’ uniforms, which are rarity, as well as of some experimental samples, is merit of the collection, which has been completed since 1916.


In December 1879 , by an act of parliament were determined 9 different uniforms according to the ranks and kinds of troops in the army of Principality of Bulgaria. They differ in cut, color and symbols. All of them however, showed unambiguously the Bulgarian nationality.

The uniforms of the Bulgarian rulers, having been also commanders- in-chief of the army after 1879- Prince Alexander I Battenberg, Prince (since 1908 Tsar) Ferdinand I and Tsar Boris III, as well as the uniforms of members of their families, call forth extreme interest.


In 1884 the military uniform in Principality of Bulgaria was divided into three types: parade, full dress and every day uniform. Parade uniform was worn on the occasions of prince’s birthday or name day , election of a prince, in the days of main church holidays as well as on New Year’s day, in cases of inspections, parades, promotions, awarding, new appointments, consecration of flags and swearing ceremonies. Full dress uniform was worn when visiting the Palace , going for examinations, to church services and parades, balls, official dinners, christenings, funerals , etc. Everyday uniform was worn at exercises, inspections, presentations to the Command etc.


During the first decade of 20th c. started equalization of the dress and equipment of all branches of the army. The simplification of the uniform, called forth by necessity of more functionality and practicality of the uniforms, influenced on all the armies of Europe. The protective gray-greenish color enabled hiding in real battle environment and is a step forward towards modernizing of the army uniform. After 1905 only patron regiments had parade uniforms.

After the re-organization of the Bulgarian Army in 1936 was changed the design and the color of military uniform. The Ministry of War divided army uniforms as follows : parade (only for the Lifeguard of his Majesty Horse regiment), full dress, service, everyday and battle. All of them were subdivided into summer and winter uniforms.


The transition from monarchy to people’s republic had its influence also on the army uniforms. In 1947 complete change of the symbols, cut, colors and accessories of the uniforms were carried out.

In 2001, with the purpose of modernizing and unifying of the uniforms, in the Bulgarian Army were adopted the following uniforms : parade- for military men on active service; full dress- representative- for all the military men on active service, without soldiers. Full dress-parade uniforms were adopted for the conscript military men and also were adopted everyday uniforms (winter and summer) and special working dress.


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The “Flags” collection preserves all the regular and non-regular combat flags of the Bulgarian army, a great number of trophies and flags of social and cultural- educational Organizations.

The oldest flags the museum owns date from the middle of XIX c.- the flag of the Bulgarian volunteer troop in the Crimean war; of the troop of Stefan Karadja and Hadji Dimitar; of the leader Jelio ; of the leader Philip Totyu ; of Stiliana Paraskevova on which the colors of the National tricolor remain in their today’s order ; the flag of Gorno Orjahovo’s rebels, the Samara’s flag , decorated with the order I class “For bravery”; all the flags preserved till nowadays – infantry and standard , bestowed to the Bulgarian army in 1881, 1886, 1888, 1891, 1925,1937 and after the proclamation of Bulgaria as a Republic- in 1949, 1971.

The collection has started being completed since 1937




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  • 7 months later...

Very nice Photos,

The rocket launcher in post 51 is an RM-51 (Raketomet vzor 1951) multiple rocket launcher and was the Czech army alternative of the BM-13 multiple rocket launcher developed in the 1950s.

Regards Eddie

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