‘Bulgarian Archaeology’ Exhibit Opened in Cultural Center of Bulgarian Minority in Serbia

A poster from the "Bulgarian Archaeology - Past and Present" exhibition which has been presented in Tsaribrod (Dimitrov), a Bulgarian-populated town in Southeast Serbia. Photo: Far

A poster from the “Bulgarian Archaeology – Past and Present” exhibition which has been presented in Tsaribrod (Dimitrov), a Bulgarian-populated town in Southeast Serbia. Photo: Far

A poster exhibition entitled “Bulgarian Archaeology – Past and Present" has been unveiled in Tsaribrod (formally known as Dimitrovgrad), a town in Southeast Serbia historically populated by ethnic Bulgarians.

The exhibit has been prepared by experts from Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, and presents the history of archaeology in the country as well as some of Bulgaria’s most interesting archaeological sites and discoveries.

The exhibition is hosted by the Cultural Center in Tsaribrod (Dimitrovgrad). It was opened by the town’s Mayor Zoran Dzhurov, the Center’s Director Nikolay Manov, and the Director of Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology, Assoc Prof. Lyudmil Vagalinski.

As part of the exhibition initiative, the Museum has donated copies of more than 100 publications of its own publications to the Detko Petrov Library in Tsaribrod (Dimitrovgrad).

It is thus “continuing a ten-year tradition of making donations to the library", says the Museum’s release, which also informs that during his trip Vagalinski has had talks with archaeologists from Dimitrovgrad and Pirot for initiating joint research projects.

The poster exhibition on the “Past and Present" of Bulgaria’s archaeology has already been presented to the Serbian Archaeological Society in the town of Pirot, as well as in Turkey and Greece, reports the local news site Far, a bilingual edition publishing in Bulgarian and Serbian.

“In the recent years, we have had a number of achievements in archaeological research in all historical periods, and numerous new finds. This is the result of intensive work on infrastructure projects which have given us important exploration opportunities. There are also regular archaeological excavations in the archaeological and historical preserves in Bulgaria funded by the Ministry of Culture but these are smaller in scope than the [rescue excavations for] infrastructure projects," archaeologist Snezhana Goryanova is quoted as saying.

“For the development of archaeology, it is essential not only to excavate archaeological monuments but also to materialize their proper presentation to the public so that the people who don’t deal with science can get an idea how people used to live before us. The purpose of archaeology isn’t just to have scientific achievements but also to reach a much wider public interested how their ancestors lived," she elaborates.

The opening of the Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition in Tsaribrod (Dimitrovgrad), Serbia. Photo: Far

The opening of the Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition in Tsaribrod (Dimitrovgrad), Serbia. Photo: Far

The official poster for the "Bulgarian Archaeology - Past and Present" exhibition features the Golden Mask of Ancient Thracian Odrysian King Teres I (r. 460-445 BC). Photo: Far

The official poster for the “Bulgarian Archaeology – Past and Present” exhibition features the Golden Mask of Ancient Thracian Odrysian King Teres I (r. 460-445 BC). Photo: Far

More posters from the exhibition. Photo: Far

More posters from the exhibition. Photo: Far

The Serbian town of Dimitrovgrad known in Bulgaria with its historical name Tsaribrod is one of the homes of the ethnic Bulgarian minority in Serbia in the region known (in Bulgaria) as the Western Outlands.

Bulgaria lost to Serbia much of the then Bulgarian-populated Western Outlands as early as 1878, i.e. immediately after its National Liberation from the Ottoman Empire, first the region of the city of Nish (Nis) with the San Stefano Treaty of March 3, 1878, and then the region of the town of Pirot with the Berlin Treaty of July 1878.

It had to cede to Serbia (then Yugoslavia) still another, a third section of these territories along its western border under the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, part of the Peace Treaty of Versailles, of November 1919 as a punishment for having sided with Germany and the other Central Powers in World War I.

The government of communist Yugoslavia renamed the town of Tsaribrod to Dimitrovgrad in honor of Bulgarian communist leader Georgi Dimitrov.

Dimitrov was essentially a hardcore Stalin loyalist, the last Secretary-General of the Communist International (1934-1943), and the first communist leader of Soviet-occupied Bulgaria (1946-1949), and was complicit in fomenting the bloody September Uprising in the Tsardom of Bulgaria in 1923, and the 1925 terrorist attack in the St. Nedelya Cathedral in Sofia, which appears to be the bloodiest act of terror in Europe, with a total of 213 deaths.

As the end of World War II saw at first close relations between Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and the dictator of communist Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito, their friendship provided for outrightly criminal designs such as surrendering Bulgaria’s sovereignty to make it part of Yugoslavia, literally inventing a “Macedonian" nation out of the Bulgarian population inhabiting the geographic region of Macedonia, and trading territories between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia (i.e. Southwest Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia) for the 1919 section of the Wester Outlands).

After the rift between Stalin and Tito of 1948, these designs were abandoned but the authorities of communist Yugoslavia still kept Dimitrovgrad as the name of the former Bulgarian town of Tsaribrod.