Most people will agree war is a cruel and sad event, but knowing history, and most of all learning from it seems like the only way to avoid such mistakes in the future. Are you avid fan of history? Do you enjoy learning more about war history, significant battles, aviation, tanks, artillery and stuff like that? Then take a visit to the National Museum of Military History in Bulgaria's capital – Sofia. It is located next to the Military Academy at 92 Cherkovna Str.
The public visitors entrance is around the corner, though – at the smaller Han Omurtag Str. This museum is actually a structure of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense and is (a little) more than hundred years old! The museum has existed under a few different names through the years, starting August 1914. Since then the Military Museum's main goal is to preserve, investigate and scientifically process various historical and cultural valuables, connected with both national and European military history. This is one of the biggest museums in Bulgaria – it has three-storey building and over 5,000 m² indoor and 40,000 m² of outdoor exhibition area. There's also a library and a info-center with computers.
The Military Museum is very tourist-friendly – you can book a guide in English, and there are bilingual boards and extensive English-Bulgarian labeling on all artifacts. Most of the exhibition is weapons and various war trophies and paraphernalia, but it also contains huge photographic collection, rebel flags, important historical documents, lots and lots of uniforms and soldiers' personal belongings.
Here you can see display of exponents dating back to the time of the Thracians up to the April Uprising in 1876 leading to the Liberation of Bulgaria, and also WWI collection. Sound and multimedia, as well as the authentic objects, makes it even easier to feel the spirit and atmosphere of the times shown in the exhibition. Ambient sounds of floating rivers, military anthems, soldiers marching and the crash of WWII bombings will make you feel part of these glorious historical battles.
On the outside part of the Museum there's even bigger part of the exhibition – huge collection of over 230 battle tanks (most notable is the section of German panzers, including PzIII's and Stugs), artillery units, aviation and marines equipment, missiles and missile launchers, all kinds of specialized machinery and military hardware.