National Museum “Earth and Man” in the city of Sofia

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The National Museum “Earth and Man” is located in downtown Sofia. The museum opened in 1987. In its area of 5,500 square meters, visitors may see a collection of minerals collected from 109 countries from around the world. The museum has collected 1,523 kinds of minerals out of more than 4200 known throughout the world. Few European museums can boast of a collection as rich as this one.
The museum has more than 27,000 items gathered in seven permanent exhibits. On the first floor, visitors may enjoy the giant crystal exhibit, including crystals rarely encountered in nature that are as tall as they are. Included in the exhibit are quartz, Apatite, fluorite, and others. The neighboring exhibit, “Earth’s Minerals,” includes a wide variety of minerals, many of which are also very rare.
At the far end of the first floor is the Peter Tranteev (1924-1979) collection. Tranteev was the founder of Bulgaria’s speleology society. Among the most interesting of these items collected over 45 years of exploration are the cave pearls.
Visitors may view most of Bulgaria’s minerals on the museum’s second floor. Here are 291 minerals found in Bulgaria, organized in exhibits by regions. The Vitosha exhibit includes two-faceted Dravite crystals, titanium, Apatite, Brookite, Anatite, and a collection of cut decorative stones. From Kremikovtsi, there are various types of Barite. From Madzharova, there are Orfeite, native bronze, Malachite, and Kakosanit. There are also minerals from Bulgarian sites and an exhibit of other mineral resources, including a wide range of those unearthed in Bulgaria.
Of particular interest is the gemstone exhibit. Here are displayed almost all types, both cut and uncut, including rare precious stones.
Part of the museum space is reserved for temporary exhibits. There are shops at the entrance, selling a wide variety of minerals and general information about the museum.
The museum regularly hosts conferences and related exhibits.

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