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Regional Natural History Museum

phone: 032 626 683 email: pnm_plovdiv@abv.bg link: http://www.rnhm.org
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Business hours:
Monday – Sunday: 08.30 - 17.00 
Tickets: adults - 4,00 BGN; Students - 2,00 BGN; 
Children up to 7 years of age: 1,00 BGN
Tickets for the projections in the Digital Planetarium: 
Single: adults - 10,00 BGN; Students - 7,00 BGN
Children up to seven years of age: 3,00 BGN
Group tickets for the Digital Planetarium: 5 to 50 adults- 7,00 BGN 
5 to 50 students - 6,00 BGN
Projections of the Digital Planetarium: 09:00, 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00.
Reservations for groups on +359 32 633096

After the reconstruction of the Natural Science Museum – Plovdiv, it already has the biggest and the most diversified aquarium in the whole country with over 216 kinds of fish and octopi; a terrarium with living animal species; a digital planetarium. The dome of the planetarium is with diameter of 8 meters and a capacity of 50 seats and carries the visitors into the atmosphere of nature and the outer space.

History

On September 5th, 1955 the museum was opened as a “Temporary exhibition of materials belonging to a future Natural History Museum”, although the collections were not completed and the design scheme was not finished.

The first exposition arranged in a scientific and artistic order was opened on May 8th, 1960, illustrating Bulgaria’s flora, fauna, and geology. The scientific stocks of the museum were established in the period 1970–1971, covering the sections of “Geology”, “Botany”, “Zoology of Invertebrates”, and “Zoology of Vertebrates”. In 1974, as a result of the enormous research work done by the staff and the scientific advancement of the museum, the exposition was further enlarged, including new sections such as “Minerals from the Rhodope Massif”; overall reconstruction and artistic arrangement of the exposition in the “Geology” Hall; “Edible and poisonous mushrooms in Bulgaria”; “Protected natural sites and plants in Plovdiv region”.
The first “FRESHWATER AQUARIUM” in the expositions of Bulgaria’s Natural History Museums was established in 1974 in the Museum’s basement premises. Situated on an area of 100 m2, the facility harbors more than 32 aquarium fish species and exotic plants arranged in 48 beautiful aquariums. Overall improvement of the existing exposition was done in the period 1988-1993 with a stronger emphasis on the ecological aspect in all exhibition halls, new materials and showcases, as well as rearrangement of the already existing vitrines and dioramas.

In 2006 the museum was given a new name – REGIONAL NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM. It became a methodical center of the natural history museums, “Nature” departments, and the museum collections in Southern Bulgaria. The Regional Natural History Museum - Plovdiv is the second biggest museum in the country, harboring a modern exposition with a strong emphasis on nature conservation.
 

Exposition 

Minerals

 The “Geology” section of the Regional Natural History Museum in Plovdiv has been in existence since the establishment of the museum in 1955.

The establishment of this section as well as the whole museum was based on the materials of the rich encyclopedic museum at the former French college in the town of Plovdiv.

Through the years, the exposition and the overall stock of the “Geology” section have been replenished with new paleontological, mineralogical, and petrographic specimens from Bulgaria and abroad.

In early 1991, following the overall reconstruction of the “Geology” Hall, the exposition was arranged under a new thematic plan and modern design. Three sub-sections – Paleontology, Mineralogy, and Petrography, are presented in an area of 100 m2. The exposition begins from the museum foyer, where three vitrines show fossils of neogene mammals – model of a Deinotherium, including molars and tusks, as well as thigh bones. The “Paleontology” sub-section is arranged in 12 vitrines showing fossils of plants and animals that inhabited the Earth in past geological periods: remains and prints of Sigillaria and other extinct plant species, Trilobites, Brachiopods, Graptolites, Sea lilies and Sea urchins, Belemnites, Ammonites, clams, snails, molars and vertebrae of neogene mammals, mammoths, horses, bovids, antlers, roes, etc.

“Petrography” sub-section exhibits various rock samples in two big vitrines arranged in a systematic order corresponding to the rock formation:

intrusive (Granite, Syenite, Gabbro, Monzonite);
sedimentary (Limestone, Sandstone, Tuff, Chalk, Conglomerate);
metamorphic (Marble, Quarzite, Schist, Gneiss, Slate).
Most of this expositition is dedicated to the “Mineralogy” sub-section. Four vitrines are allocated to taxonomy of minerals divided in 12 classes and presented by specimens from Bulgaria and abroad. Two vitrines show the so called semi-precious stones – Topaz, Aquamarine, Beryl, Amethyst, Morion, Garnet, Agate, Jasper, and many others from Bulgaria, Russia, Brazil, and Mozambique. Six more vitrines and the central part of the “Geology” Hall present the diversity of forms, varieties, and colors of the richest collection in South Bulgaria containing metalliferous and non-metalliferous samples from the Rhodopes (Galenite, Sphalerite, Cleiophane, Pyrites, Chalcopyrite, Quartz, Calcite, Rhodochrosite, Baryte, Ankerite, etc.

BOTANY

The “Botany” section has been opened since the establishment of the museum in 1955. Initially, the establishment of this section as well as the whole museum was based on the materials of the rich encyclopedic museum at the former French college in the town of Plovdiv. 
Since 1967, this first exposition has been constantly replenished and renovated. This permanent improvement includes gathering of materials from the Bulgarian nature (mainly from South Bulgaria), replacement of old specimens, development of new topics, introduction of modern spatial and decorative patterns, etc. In 1986, the renovation was finally completed. The exposition, as it exists now, is an entirely new exposition emphasizing the following topics: “Plant evolution and phylogenetics”, “Plant taxonomy”, “Medicinal plants”, “Riches of South Bulgarian flora”, “Researchers on the Rhodopean and Thracian flora”, “Reserves and venerable trees”, and “Edible and poisonous mushrooms in Bulgaria”.
The exposition begins with a color board illustrating the recent concepts of evolution and phylogenetics in the vegetable kingdom.

Most of the exposition is dedicated to the floristic riches and diversity of South Bulgaria. Herbarium samples (mainly) and color photographs present 70 rare endemic and relict plant species, such as Haberlea rhodopensis, Tulipa rhodopaea, Lilium rhodopeum, Astragalus physocalix, Morina persica, Gypsophila tekirae, Geum rhodopeum, Arenaria rhodopea, Juniperus excelsa, etc.

Big color photographs show some of the most remarkable venerable trees (the Sycamore in the village of Belashtitsa, the Oak in the village of Granit, Chirpan region, etc.) and reserves (Chervenata Stena, Jendema, etc.) in South Bulgaria. Four vitrines, situated in the middle of the hall, expose models of 37 species of more common edible and poisonous mushrooms found in Bulgaria, arranged on an ecological principle. The botanical exposition of the Natural History Museum in Plovdiv is arranged in a separate hall with an area of more than 100 m2. This is Bulgaria’s biggest and richest botanical collection.

Herbarium. The beginning of the scientific herbarium of the museum was laid by a collection comprising some 6,400 leaves inherited from the French college in Plovdiv, involving mainly materials from other countries. Now, the herbarium contains more than 18,000 leaves classified in three collections: “Bulgarian flora” – approximately 10,000 leaves and plants mainly from South Bulgaria, “Foreign floras” - approximately 4,000 leaves, and “Striburny’s herbarium” – approximately 4,000 leaves.

INVERTEBRATES

The exposition involves a board showing the Phylogenetics of invertebrates and another one of Protozoa, unicellular organisms (Gastropods, Flagellates, Sporozoans, and Infusoria). Representatives of corals include Sea feather (Penatulla rubra), Sea fan (Eunicella cavolinii), Red coral (Corallium rubrum), Disc coral (Fungia sp.), etc. More than 147 species are exhibited in the exposition. As for the Poriferans, of particular interest is the Sponge (Euspongia officinalis).
Among all specimens there are 18 representatives of the freshwater and marine fauna - Snails (Gastropoda class) and Mollusks (Lamellibranchia), 5 of which are freshwater species and 12 are marine species. The group is completed by a collection of exotic specimens.
Another interesting group is the Cephalopoda, represented by Squid (Ommastrephes sp.), Octopus (Octopus vulgaris), Loligo (Loligo sp.), and Nautilus (Nautilus sp.).
Crustaceans (Crustacea) represent one of the big groups of the “Invertebrates” section. There are twenty-one species exhibited in the showcase, among which Hermit crab (Eupagulus prideauxi), Sea spider (Macropoda longirostris), Manti shrimp (Squilla mantis), European lobster (Astacus gammarus), Red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus), etc.
Arachnida are arranged in a separate vitrine. Scorpions are represented by the two species found in Bulgaria - Euscorpius carpathicus and Euscorpius italicus. These are medium-sized species of the Arachnida class equipped with a poisonous gland and a sharp sting. The exotic scorpions are represented by two species inhabiting Libya. The big group of spiders found in Bulgaria is represented by 16 species. Some of the more typical ones include Mediterranean black widow (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus), Tarantula (Lucosa vultusa), Earth tiger (Argiope bruennicni), Cardinal spider (Tegenaria parietina), etc.
The biggest group – “Insects” (Insecta), is represented by almost all orders found in Bulgaria. The exposition contains more than 1,200 insects. Coleoptera and Lepidoptera are best represented. The specimens include representatives of the world’s exotic butterfly fauna.
There is a special section allocated for protected invertebrates represented by 11 species – Longicorn (Rosalia alpina), Ground beetle (Calosoma sycophanta), Inquisitor (Calosoma inquisitor), Mountain apollo (Parnassius apollo), Stag beetle (Lucanus arvis), European rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes nasicornis), etc.
Referring to the exotic Coleoptera, of particular interest is the Goliath beetle (Goliathus giganteus), the biggest representative of the beetle species, inhabiting the area of Equatorial Africa.

AQUARIUM

In 1974 opens "aquarium hall" in the basement of the museum, which has become a favorite place for hobbyists and visitors. Situated on 100 square meters is the largest freshwater aquarium in the country. In conditions close to natural shows 37 species of rare tropical fish from different countries of Asia, Africa, Australia and America.

During the last 2012 was made partial repair of the  Aquarium. Today the hall has 26 freshwater aquariums, home to about 150 species of tropical fish, 21 species of native fish (mostly from the Maritsa River). This year renovation was done by placing the 3,000 liter saltwater aquarium.

SEA BOTTOM

In 1985, following the reconstruction of the basement premises, a new venue was built – “Sea bottom”, exhibiting items from the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranea. 
Most of the exposition is occupied by a unique collection of mollusks: snails, clams, corals,
star-fish, etc.), involving more than 200 specimens of 150 species. The collection was made up by Kostadin Nedyalkov, who gathered the items from the beaches of Angola while working there as a zoo technician.
The scientific value of the collection is determined by the fact that many of the species have suffered either decline or extinction as a result of pollution of seas and oceans as well as mass persecution and overexploitation.
This is the biggest collection in Bulgaria comprising the greatest number of species (280) and specimens (4,500).
FISHES

The exposition begins with a decorative explanatory board showing the evolution in fish and the geographical distribution of the ichthyofauna nowadays. One of the lower representatives - Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), is also included in the exposition. Real sharks are exhibited in a spatially arranged diorama, including Grey reef shark (Carcharinus sp.), Cat shark (Scyliorhinus sp.), Piked dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias), Angelshark (Squatina sp.), Spotted torpedo (Torpedo marmorata), etc.

The marine specimens are exhibited in a separate showcase, including the most typical Black Sea species, such as Leaping mullet (Liza saliens), Horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus), Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), European flounder (Platichthys flesus), Long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus ramulosus), Scorpid (Scorpaena porcus), and other species. More than 20 species are included in the exposition.
Representatives of oceanic species and inhabitants of the warm seas are exhibited in a diorama made up of stuffed specimens such as Sea devil (Lophius piscatorius), Flying gurnard (Trigla gurnardus), Morena (Morena helena), Swordfish (Xiphias gladius), Flying fish (Exocoetidae), Long-spined porcupine fish (Diodon sp.), etc. More than 20 species are included in the exposition.
The freshwater ichthyofauna is presented by more than 22 species. Some of the most typical ones are: Brown trout (Salmo trutta), Bardslee trout (Salmo gairdneri irideus), European chub (Leuciscus cephalus), Zander (Stizostedion lucioperca), Ray-finned fish (Barbus cyclolepis), European perch (Perca fluviatilis), Sheatfish (Silurus glanis), etc.
The representatives of the Chondrostei sub-class are shown in a diorama with specimens of Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) and Ship sturgeon (Acipenser nudventris). In addition, the showcase contains specimens of Eel (Anguilla anguilla), Carp (Cyprinus carpio), Zander (Stizostedion lucioperca), Banded puffer (Colomesus psittacus), etc.
At the end of the exposition there is a board illustrating the distribution of freshwater species in Bulgaria by zones.

AMPHIBIANS and REPTILES

47 out of 56 reptiles and amphibians known in Bulgaria are exhibited in the exposition, representing 90 % of the total number of species. 
All representatives are of high conservation status. They are listed in the annexes of national and international nature conservation documents and agreements.
The Hall is divided in several sections arranged in a taxonomical order. Among the indigenous amphibian and reptile species presented in the exposition, of particular interest are Alpine newt (Mesotriton alpestris), Red-headed whip snake (Platyceps collaris) Cat snake (Malpolon insignitus), and Leopard snake (Zamenis situla), which are some of Bulgaria’s rarest species. Other species, which have typical biology and are rarely found in the wild, are also presented. These are Eastern spadefoot (Pelobates syriacus), Turkish sand boa (Eryx jaculus), and European blind snake (Typhlops vermicularis). Venomous and non-venomous snakes are exhibited in separate vitrines, compared in a schematic juxtaposition.
In addition, the exposition contains interesting and rare representatives of the herpeto-fauna that are not found in Bulgaria. The most interesting representative of the amphibians is the Olm (Proteus anguineus), inhabiting only a few karts caves in Croatia, while the most interesting reptile specimens are the 6 meter long Yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus), the Ball python (Python regius), the Alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), and the Nilotic crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus), etc.

BIRDS

The exposition arranged in the “Birds” Hall is extremely rich and taxonomically consistent. 
Separate vitrines show typical representatives of the different orders. Many of the specimens belong to species of high conservation significance, listed in the annexes and appendices to various nature conservation agreements.
Among which the globally threatened :
- Red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis)
- Pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus).
Some of the specimens belong to extremely rare species such as Imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca), Wood grouse (Tetrao urogallus), or species extinct in Bulgaria: Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), Little bustard (Otis tetrax).
Other species such as Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), Black vulture (Aegypius monachus),
Common crane (Grus grus), are not typical representatives of the Bulgarian fauna, but single individuals can be seen during migration.
Part of the exposition exhibits some interesting specimens of the world avifauna – Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), and Penguins, as well as numerous brightly colored tropical paradise birds, humming birds, etc.

MAMMALS

The higher representatives of the vertebrate fauna are exhibited in the “Mammals” Hall. Some of the most typical species of the Bulgarian fauna, such as: Marten (Мartes martes), Stone marten (Martes foina), Fox (Vupes vulpes), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Wolf (Canis lupus) and Jackal (Canis aureus), are presented in their natural environment by means of bio-groups and dioramas.
The only representative of the Bulldog bats in Bulgaria - Tadarida teniotis, is of particular interest, as it has been extremely poorly studied. Until recently, there was only one report on this species from Southwest Bulgaria. Many of the exponents are listed in the annexes and appendices to nature conservation agreements ratified by Bulgaria. 
The exotic species – Polar bear, Bison, Kangaroo, Mongoose, Armadillo, Tiger, Puma, Leopard, and various monkey species are among the specimens of particular interest.
In the beginning of the exposition there is a big diorama showing animals inhabiting mountain massifs, among which Red deer (Cervus elaphus), Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), Argali (Ovis ammon), Roe (Capreolus capreolus), and wild birds.

Terarium

It was built in 2011 as an expansion of the aquarium hall. In our terrarium you can see: Rabbit, Chinchilla, Burunduk, Vole, Turtle, African clawed frog, Green iguana, Savannah dragon, Water dragon, Agamas, Geckos, Tritons, and many species of Snakes, Spiders, Scorpions, Cockroaches, Indian sticks

  • Historical period

  • Modern times