("stopan" in Eng. – owner, guardian, "sto" in Eng. – a hundred)

The Regional Ethnographic Museum – Plovdiv reached 100 years. On this occasion on 20th April the exhibition "THE MUSEUM.

STOpan of the Heritage" was presented in its halls. Started as a dream of the great expert of the Rodopi region, public figure, bookman and ethnographer – Stoyo Shishkov, today it preserves a millennial history and collections with an exceptional national value. Many years the museum’s funds have been filled with valuable items, which reveal to us the riches of folk culture.

The museum has six funds, which include over 50 000 cultural properties. There are items that belonged to some of the most eminent people for Bulgaria and the Bulgarians, who linked their lives with Plovdiv. Among them are Bishop Paisiy Plovdivski, Natanail Ohridski, Atanas Samokovliev, Bozhidar Zdravkov, Angel Bukoreshtliev, Ivan Markvichka, Nedko Kableshkov and many others.

The museum, as an institution, has the obligation and the responsibility to preserve what is bequeathed to us by our ancestors. For decades experts enrich the museum funds, so that the preserved could be passed to the future generations.

The old traditions still live through the museum collections. Some stand out notably: pastoral wood-carving, embroidery, musical instruments, ritual property, copper utensils, adornments, traditional and urban costumes, furniture and interior, weapons and church plate. Each one of the collections tells stories about old times, which illustrate the manner of life, the culture and the moral standards of the people that lived back then.

The movable cultural properties in the museum are a part of our rich heritage. Very often they have an old symbolic meaning. On the one hand it augurs fertility and prosperity, and on the other, it has apotropaic functions, protecting people from harmful influences. For example, embroidery and adornments are related to the woman, and weapons and masks – to the man. The Zmey (dragon in Eng.) can "ensure" the rich harvest or protect from natural disasters a particular village or its territory.

It is sure that our museum also has its own Zmey–stopan (a guardian dragon), that watches over it and guards it from the torrents of Time. From the distance of its 100 years, the Museum defends Bulgarian traditions and that’s why it deserved to be called the "living memory" of the generations. It transforms heritage into a tale, which links with an invisible thread past, present and future.

The Exhibition "THE MUSEUM. STOpan of the Heritage" will be open until May 31.

The material is provided by the Regional Ethnographic Museum - Plovdiv.