Museum of Mining – town of Pernik
The town of Pernik is also known as the Town of Black Gold. The development of Pernik is closely related to mining. In 1891 the Mining Law was adopted and the first mine of the Pernik State Mine in the locality of Kulata was established. The first mine buildings were constructed around it. Gradually the center of the locality was moved from the residential section of Varosha around the new mining settlement. In 1986, in Pernik was established the Museum of Mining. The idea of its establishing occurred after miners from Pernik visited the Museum of rock-salt extraction in the town of Velichka, Poland, and the St. Petersburg Museum of Mining.
The Museum of Mining in Pernik is not housed in a building, but it is part if an underground gallery. The first dig in the mine, in which the museum is housed, was performed in 1891. It was effective until 1966 when its deposits were exhausted and it was closed, and after about 20 years it was turned into a museum.
The Museum of Mining is the only one of its kind on the Balkan Peninsula. There are similar museums only in Belgium, Germany, Poland and Russia.
One of the attractions for the visitors is the helmets which had to be put on before entering the museum. Actually, there is no danger for the visitors in the tunnel. The galleries of the old mine are 630 meters long and about 30 expositions are placed in them, which follow the development of mining in Bulgaria.
In the beginning, the visitors pass through a tunnel reinforced by wooden supports – as it was in the past. Various types of equipment for reinforcement and lightning can be seen along the entire length of the galleries. An exposition of transportation equipment is also presented – various types of locomotives and passenger trolleys, most of which are authentic and show the progress of the mining industry after 1896.
The visitors can touch authentic mining instruments. Accessories and equipment, mine phones and means of communication, protective equipment, self preservers, etc. are presented in the museum expositions.
A part of the inventory is the first locomotive, commissioned in Pernik Mines – Siemens of 1925.
The lecture and the tour in the Museum of Mining continue for about 40 minutes. The temperature in the gallery is almost the same during the entire year, that is why the tourists which visit the museum in the summer must carry warm clothes because the temperature is a little above zero.
The Mining Directorate – the building in which the managing body of the mine is situated, is a remarkable architectural monument which stores pieces of art and is a symbol of the town. Museum exposition tracing the development of mining in its various periods, as well as the geological history and diversity of the Pernik region is presented in its ground floor part.
In close proximity to the Museum of Mining is the Historical Museum of Pernik. The museum stores more than 50 000 exponents, among which are finds from excavations in the middle age fortress Krakra near Pernik. The museum also stores ancient ceramics, and there is an icon and ethnographic collection. A fish fossil dating back to 35 million years ago was recently exposed, which was found during the construction of Lyulin Highway.
The tourists can find additional information regarding the tourist and cultural sites (Krakra fortress, Thracian temple, etc.), as well as the events in Pernik (the International Masquerade Games Festival) in the Cultural and Informational Center. The center also offers organized visits to various sites in the town.
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