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Country Summary for BULGARIA

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


Cultural heritage shall cover the nonmaterial and material immovable and movable heritage which bears the historical memory or national identity and has scientific or cultural value. (LCH, Art. 2(1))

'Cultural heritage' includes—
(1) ground, underground and underwater archaeological sites and reserves;

historical sites and complexes;
architectural sites and complexes;
ethnographic sites and complexes; and
(5) natural valuables (models), including anthropological remains, and remains of paleozoology and cultivated plants. (LCH, Art. 6)

'Cultural valuables'
—nonmaterial or material evidence of human presence and activity that has scientific or cultural value or is of importance for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church or another registered religion. The following shall not be deemed cultural valuables:
(1) most machine-mintage coins and coin-like items;
most machine-made items;
most pieces of art less than 50-years old; and
(4) most antiquities less than 100-years old. (LCH, Art. 7)

'Immovable cultural heritage'—cultural valuables permanently fixed to the earth, including under water. (LCH, Art. 9) Immovable cultural valuables date from the pre-historical, antique, medieval, Renaissance, modern, and post-modern times and include:
(1) archaeological: material traces of human activity;

historical: buildings and other structures related to significant historical events and personalities;
(3) architectural-construction: buildings and constructions which have historical, aesthetical, technical, and cultural valuables;

artistic: works of fine and applied art; and
(5) ethnographic: material evidence of lifestyles, crafts, skills, customs and beliefs. (LCH, Arts. 46 & 47)
'Movable cultural heritage'—all other cultural valuables, including those under water. (LCH, Art. 10) Movable cultural valuables with exceptional significance for science, culture, nature or technical progress and whose destruction, damage or loss would be an irreparable loss for society may acquire the status of national wealth. (LCH, Art. 54)  Movable cultural valuables date from the pre-historic, antique, medieval, Renaissance, modern, and post-modern times and include:
(1) archaeological: movable items found in the earth, on its surface or under the water evidencing epochs and/or civilization;
ethnographic: movable items that are evidence of a way of life or work, a tradition, custom, ritual, belief or craft;
(3) historical: movable items related to historical events;
(4) artistic: works of fine art; and

(5) natural: samples of the flora, fauna, paleontological and mineral formations. (LCH, Arts. 52 & 53)
'Archaeological objects'include all movable and immovable material traces of human activity of past epochs located or discovered in the earth layers, on their surface, on land and under water. (LCH, Art. 146)


The National Institute of Immovable Cultural Heritage (NIICH) shall, among other things:
keep a public register of immovable cultural valuables;
(2) produce and maintain a specialized map and registers of immovable cultural heritage; and

(3) maintain and develop an information system of immovable cultural heritage. (LCH, Art. 19)

The NIICH shall keep a public register of declared immovable sites and a national register of immovable cultural valuables. (LCH, Arts. 60 & 68)
The director of NIICH shall propose to the Minister of Culture the classification of immovable cultural heritage with qualities of immovable cultural valuables. (LCH, Art. 64(1))
A found object of movable property identified as a cultural valuable of national wealth shall be registered. (LCH, Art. 94(4))
The Ministry of Culture shall create and keep a register of the movable cultural valuables having acquired a status of national treasury. (LCH, Art. 102(1))
A register of export licenses, as well as the refusals for issuing of such, shall be created and kept under the Minister of Culture. (LCH, Art. 128)

Relevant State Agencies

The state policy in the area of the cultural heritage shall be governed and realized by the Council of Ministers. (LCH, Art. 12(1))
The Minister of Culture shall, among other things:
(1) make proposals for registering immovable cultural valuables on the World Heritage List;
(2) issue permissions for conducting archaeological research;

(3) issue permissions for making copies and replicas of cultural valuables;

(4) issue permissions for exhibiting cultural valuables in national and international exhibitions;

(5) assign and adopt plans for conservation and governance of immovable cultural valuables;

issue permissions for export, as provided by Council Regulation (EC) No 116/1992 оf 18 December 2008 on the export of monuments of culture (ОВ, L 39/1 of February, 10 2009) and permission for temporary removal of movable cultural valuables;
coordinate, organize and control the activity related to:
(a) the return of unlawfully exported movable cultural values which are part of national treasure;

(b) the protection of cultural heritage, related to Bulgarian history and culture outside the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria; and

monitoring of immovable cultural valuables;
(d) exercise state ownership rights over cultural valuables; and

keep registers of the types of cultural valuables, museums and other registers. (LCH, Art. 14)

The Inspectorate for Preservation of Cultural Heritage, under the Ministry of Culture, shall enforce this law and any acts related to:

(1) conducting ground and underwater archaeological research;
territorial-structure protection of immovable cultural valuables;
(3) conservation and restoration of movable and immovable cultural valuables;

(4) protection of literary cultural valuables; and

transactions with movable cultural valuables. (LCH, Art. 15)

NIICH is a state cultural institute of national importance and carries out activities in the area of protection of immovable cultural heritage. It shall:

(1) assist the Minister of Culture while exercising his/her competencies in the area of conservation of immovable cultural heritage;

carry out activities for exploration and studying of the immovable cultural heritage; and
(3) prepare proposals for declaration and granting a status of immovable cultural valuables. (LCH, Arts. 18 & 19)

The Center for underwater archaeology shall be the state cultural institute in the area of conservation of underwater archaeological heritage. (LCH, Art. 21)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Ulyana Maleeva
Cultural Heritage Director
Ministry of Culture
17 Alexander Stamboliisky Blvd.
Sofia-1040, Bulgaria
Ph: +359 2 940 0938
F: +359 2 980 6197

Dolya Yordanova
Ministry of Culture
Ph: +359 2 940 0910
F: +359 2 980 7401

National Culture Fund
Ministry of Culture
Ph: +359 2 988 5826
F: +359 2 980 6190