An exhibition dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the archaeological research of the oldest prehistoric salt mining and urban center in Europe, Provadia-Solnitsa, was officially opened on June 11 at the National Archaeological Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS). The exposition presents more than 530 artifacts discovered during the research of Provadia-Solnitsa. The exhibits date back to the Late Prehistory (6th and 5th millennium BC), and objects from the Late Hellenistic period and Antiquity are also represented. They testify to the large-scale development of the region’s only early salt industry, the salt trade, the accumulation of wealth by communities in the area, the need to protect them behind massive stone walls, and the social hierarchy of a complex prehistoric society between 5600 and 4350 BC.

The “The Lords of Salt: Provadia – Solnitsata 5600 – 4350 BC” exhibition was created with the joint efforts of the teams of the National Archaeological Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Historical Museum Provadia. In order to provide the most authentic experience, the specialists have developed audio guides and augmented reality.

Vice President Iliana Iotova, President Georgi Parvanov (2002-2012), Caretaker Ministers of Culture and Tourism Nayden Todorov and Evtim Miloshev were among the guests at the event. Our country hides inexhaustible riches, the Vice President said in her speech and congratulated the team that prepared the exhibition. A whole history that spans centuries can be written around each exhibit, Iliana Iotova said. She handed the head of the archaeological excavations in Provadia, Acad. Vassil Nikolov, a symbolic gift – a salt cellar.

In his speech, the President of BAS Prof. Julian Revalski, Member of the Academy, said that the National Archaeological Museum shows the romantic face of science and thanked Acad. Vassil Nikolov for their joint work.

By the end of the year, the municipality of Provadia will announce an international competition for the construction of a salt museum which will present everything discovered in the ancient salt mining complex, announced the mayor of the municipality Dimo Dimov.

With our work on Provadia-Solnitstaa we managed to confirm the idea of the first European civilization which developed on the territory of the Eastern and Central Balkans, said Acad. Vassil Nikolov. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of his scientific and administrative activity at NAIM.

The “The Salt Lords: Provadia-Solnitsata 5600-4350 BC” exhibition is dedicated to the 155th anniversary of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. It can be viewed at NAIM – BAS until 18 September 2024. Among the most interesting exhibits are: beautiful ceramic vessels, ceramic anthropomorphic figurines, ceramic cult tables, bone tools, bracelets of spondylus shell, arrowheads, tools.