Museum of Mineralogy, Petrology and Economic geology

Curator: Teodora Bilyarska

Geologist: Kristina Metodieva

Sofia University, Rectorate, South Wing, Floor 5

Phone.: +359 2 9308 312
Opening hours:  Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 12 pm & 13 pm to 16 pm

In the 1891-1892 school year in the First Supreme School in Sofia was founded a natural science department, in which Dr. Bone Baev started reading geology lectures. In 1892 the students from the First Secondary School for Boys donated a collection of 450 minerals, rocks and fossils which laid the foundation of the present museums in the geological departments of t he Faculty of Geology and Geography. At 26.06.1894 an inventory was taken of the first bought samples – “A Collection of minerals in the composition of rocks” (the “Krantz” collection).

In the course of time the museum have been housed in different buildings of the University which has been bombed. In 1953 the museum was moved from the building of the Biological Faculty to the new south wing of the Sofia University where it is housed until now. The project for the expositions and the new show cases is achievement of Acad. Iv. Kostov, who was the head of the department at that time.

In the course of time directors of the museum have been eminent Bulgarian geologists and mineralogists, such as: Prof. Georgi Zlatarski, Acad. Georgi Bonchev, Prof. N. Nikolov and Acad. Ivan Kostov. Old inventories, manuscripts and original labels written by generations of geologists are now stored in the museum. Works of lecturers and students in the department of “Mineralogy, Petrology and Mineral Resources” are kept in the museum’s archives – Acad. Iv. Kostov, Prof. Str. Dimitrov, Prof. V. Vergilov, Prof. M. Jeliaskova-Panaiotova, Prof. B. Mavrudchiev, Prof. B. Aleksiev, Reader M. Maleev, Reader V. Mladenova, Reader R. Kostov, V. Vangelova, St. Boiadjiev, Sv. Petrusenko, V. Arnaudov, Evd. Naidenova, S. Aslanian – they researched and took part in many dissertations, articles and graduation works.

The show room of the museum is situated in the South wing of the University on the area of 800 m2.

16200 samples are now stored in the museum stocks, half of which are exposed in 7 expositions: “Taxonomy”, “Petrography”, “Mineral Resources”, “Crystallography”, “Regional Mineralogy”, “Genetic Mineralogy – Individuals and Aggregates” and “Memorial Collections”.

The main purpose of the exhibits of the samples is the education of the students from the “Mineralogy, Petrography and Mineral Resources” department. The order of the show cases is strictly subordinated to the syllabuses. Samples of great museum’s and collector’s value take part in those exhibits, such as:

  • Minerals found for the first time in Bulgaria;

  • Samples from already depleted Bulgarian and foreign deposits;

  • Samples from the private collections of eminent Bulgarian geologists;

  • Samples researched and described in books, textbooks and articles written by lecturers and students from the faculty.

The museum gives its show room to visiting exhibitions on themes connected to geology, University’s educative work, collectors and fans of the mineralogy, student practice and studies.

The stocks and expositions of the museum are enriched by the means of:

  • Buying samples from leading mineral trade companies: Dr. F. Krantz – Bonn; Al. Stuart Co. – Paris; B. Sturtz – Bonn; Grebel, Wendler&cie – Geneva; Mineralienhaus Droop – Dresden; Julius Bohm – Wien; Foote Mineral Co – Philadelphia; Steeg&Renter – Berlin; A. H. Petander – Helsingfors;

  • Donations from famous scientists and mineralogists: Prof. Berwerht – Wien; Prof. Lacrua – Paris, M. Dorfman – the Mineralogical Museum of Fersmana, Dr. Fischer – Berlin, Dr. Kruta – the Museum of Moravia, A. S. Paravenah – Kiev, Prof. E. M. Spiridonov – Moskow, Prof. V. Vergilov, Prof. Bogdanov – Sofia; from lapidaries and others;

  • Collecting and researching by teachers and students from the Mineralogy, Petrography and Mineral Resources Department” – “… The collections of the Institute over the last year were filled up mainly by local (Bulgarian) materials, collected by the personnel during their tours in various parts of the country” – as written in the report of Prof. N. Nikolov, the curator of the Institute in 1926-1927.

The samples are drawn up in inventory and are organized in collections by name, type and country:

  • The richest collection is the “Krantz” collection, which contains 2280 minerals and 2100 petrography samples;

  • Historic interest present the “Acad. G. Bonchev” collection with 72 samples, gathered and drawn up in the period 1898-1940;

  • The “Beril” collection contains 106 samples, 73 of which are obtained from Bulgarian Deposits.