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National Gallery/Palace, Sofia

The National Gallery in the city of Sofia is the richest artistic museum in the country. There are 42 000 works of Bulgarian and world art - painting, graphics, sculpture, icons, applied arts. Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists and guests from the country and abroad visit its expositions. The Palace, its branch for temporary exhibitions, is among the 100 national tourist sites.

The representative exhibition of the National Gallery consisting of 1,700 Bulgarian and foreign works is arranged in the Square 500 branch. Other of its branches are: The Museum for Christian Art in the crypt of the St. Alexander Nevski temple-monument, the Museum of Socialist Art, the Sofia Arsenal-Museum of Contemporary Art, Vera Nedkova, Nikola Tanev and Ivan Lazarov Museum Houses.

The palace was built after the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule /1878/ and the election of Sofia as a capital city in 1879. Before that there was a Turkish Konak (residence) from which after its reconstruction only the stone foundations and part of the main facade were preserved. The Palace was built during the rule the first Bulgarian prince Alexander I Battenberg, with the architects Rumpelmayer, Kolar and Mayerberg. It was founded in 1882. With its modern style, containing elements of the Viennese Baroque and Renaissance, it was nothing short of the French palaces from the 18th century. On the second floor were the throne room, ballrooms, reception rooms, a dining room and a winter garden. On the first floor were the offices of the palace services. Today, in the Central building and in this wing is located the National Gallery.

In 1894-1896, during the rule of Prince Ferdinad I of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, with architect Gruenager of Vienna, a northeast building was built at the Palace. There were located the Prince's family's apartments, a library, educational rooms, play and entertainment rooms, a dining room and a reception hall, a covered carriageway entrance, and two winter gardens, guest apartments and others. The National Ethnographic Museum is now housed in this wing.

After September 9, 1944, the Council of Ministers was placed in the building, and in 1953 the government provided it to the two national museums. In 1978 it was declared a monument of culture of national importance.

Useful information

National Gallery / Palace
Sofia, 1 Knyaz Alexander I Square,
Tel.: +359 2 980 00 93, +359 2 980 00 73, e-mail:, website:,

National Gallery in the city of Sofia:

The Palace - temporary exhibitions
Sofia, 1 Knyaz Alexander I Square,
Tel.: +359 2 980 00 93

Square 500 - Representative exhibition
Sv. Alexander Nevsky Sq., 1 19 February Str.
Tel.: + 359 2 988 49 22

Museum of Christian Art
Sv. Alexander Nevsky Sq., the crypt of the St. Alexander Nevski temple-monument
Tel.: + 359 2 981 57 75

Museum of Socialist Art
7 Lachezar Stanchev Str
Tel.: + 359 879 834 026

Sofia Arsenal - Museum of Contemporary Art
2 Cherni vrah Blvd.
Tel.: + 359 879 834 030

Nikola Tanev Museum House
89 Evlogi and Hristo Georgievi Blvd.

Vera Nedkova Museum House
2 11 August Str.

Ivan Lazarov Museum House /Temporarily closed for repair/
56 Vasil Levski Blvd.

Working hours for all branches of the National Gallery /except for the museum houses/:
Tuesday-Sunday: 10.00 - 18.00 /ticket office: until 17.30/, day off – Monday
Days off during the year: the official holidays in Bulgaria, Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Working hours for the museum houses:
Tuesday-Friday: 10.00 - 17.30, days off – Saturday, Sunday and Monday Days off during the year: the official holidays in Bulgaria, Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Visits to the museum houses are made after a request in advance in the National Gallery on 00 359 2 980 00 73, tickets are bought at its ticket offices.

All the branches and houses-museums of the National Gallery are with free admission for: children up to the age of 12, physically disabled visitors, students from art schools and universities, museum and gallery employees, journalists, members of UBA, ICOM, ICOMOS, AIAP, AICA.

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