Vassil Bojkov

Vassil Bojkov

Is the capital of Bulgaria getting close to home its own private Louvre?

❖ The building permit to transform a great listed building in the center of Sofia known as the Telephone Palace, into an extensive private museum is officially issued by the Chief Architect of Sofia Metropolitan Municipality Zdravko Zdravkov.
❖ Vassil Bojkov Collection is the largest private collection of Thracian treasures and artifacts that will be put on display at the museum.

The complete renovation of the great listed Telephone Palace into a private museum finally begins. Earlier in July, Zdravko Zdravkov, Chief Architect of Sofia Metropolitan Municipality, officially issued the building permit, which came into force a little bit later on July 29t h. The license allows for a reconstruction of the building, transformation of the roof into a mansard floor and construction of an underground parking facility so that more people can visit the museum.

It is pointed out in the approval documents of the investment project that the total space the building encompasses is 13 400 square meters, with an underground area of 3,000 square meters. In the plans, however, it is outlined that the reconstruction will also include widening of the underground space with additional 4.5 meters. the most prominent non-profit organisation in Bulgaria that has the goal to promote and preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the country. The grand project arouse the interest of some of the most respected names in the art world. The building was recently visited by Jeffrey Spider, the chief curator of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

With a potential to be turned into one of the most visited places, the reconstructed Telephone Palace will include several gallery halls. They will host all types of expositions – from modern-day art displays in the form of paintings to exhibitions of artefacts and other rare archaeological discoveries. One of the biggest and most prominent exhibitions will be of relics from the famous Vassil Bojkov Collection. It comprises over 3000 artefacts dating from the 8th century BC to the 6th century AD and is considered the most extensive private collection of ancient rhytons and other priceless treasures. Small part of the impressive collection was shown last year in the exhibition ‘ ‘The Golden Fleece. The Quest of the Argonauts” which was available to the visitors for 3 months d uring # EuropeForCulture. The mission of the organisers was to raise awareness and encourage participation from all European countries in the development of national identity through ancient heritage.

Aside from the artefacts from Vassil Bojkov Collection in the museum visitors will be able to enjoy plenty of original paintings, statues, and sculptures created by famous artists during different periods. It is also expected that world known exhibitions and artefacts will be hosted by the private museum.

This month will mark the opening of a new laboratory with ultramodern equipment for examination and restoration of archaeological ancient arts and other valuable works. The Experts from Thrace Foundation will be able to perform a thorough analysis of the core of different artefacts, thus, unlocking significant information about their background and nature.

Set to bring together history, art, culture, and technology, the private museum will be the first of its kind at the Balkans. Not only will it be a cultural place but also an educational centre for children. It will offer plenty of technological marvels such as holograms, media presentations, and lectures. They will provide a richer and more in-depth experience of Bulgaria, its archaeological treasures, historical events and much more. Everyone will be able to learn in a new and interactive way, looking at artefacts in 3D format, visiting places of the past, and meeting some of the most interesting civilisations such as the Thracians.

The scale of the museum is often compared to that of the remarkable Louvre in Abu Dhabi, which many refer to as “a sanctuary for the most valuable works of art.” The ambitious goal of the project is expected to lay the basis for a whole new experience of everything cultural, historical, and artistic, scoring significant international outreach.

The telephone Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in Bulgaria. Its construction began in 1938 and was completed in 1949. It is an architectural and historical monument, and because of this, any change to be made requires further approval and discussion with the National Institute for Real Estate and the Ministry of Culture. The architect of the building is Stancho Belkowski – prominent representative of modernism in native architecture.

Established in 2004, Thrace Foundation is the largest non-profit organization in Bulgaria with the primary goal to preserve and promote any ancient art, cultural value, and antique treasures of the country. The foundation also supports many institutions and individuals who work in the same area and collaborates with governmental and non-governmental organisations, educational and scientific institutions. Plenty of archaeological excavations are also funded by the organization.

During the same year, Thrace Foundation Publishers was also established. Its main activities are related to distributing scientific literature, related to the Bulgarian cultural and historical legacy and its preservation.

Considered the biggest and most impressive private collection in the world, the Vassil Bojkov Collection includes more than 3000 rare archaeological finds. Among some of the pieces are a good number of bronze, silver and golden items, metalwork, adornments and harness parts, various household utensils. There are also antique weapons, and all kinds of vessels with inscriptions, symbolic representations, figures of Greek Gods and/or heroes and mythological scenes. Although some of them are with unknown provenance, others are known to have been produced in workshops across the Middle and Near East, Anatolia, Laconia, Corinth, Ionia, Western Greece, Thrace, Scythia, Macedonia, the North Black Sea steppes and others. Different exemplars from the Vassil Bojkov Collection have been put on display in many museums and art galleries across Bulgaria and different foreign cities, including Brussels (2006) and Moscow (2009).

Original Source

Vasil Bojkov – Owner of the two biggest football rivals in Bulgaria

It has been officially confirmed. Vasil Bojkov, the famous Bulgarian businessman and biggest promoter of sport in the country, is going to be the new owner of Levski Sofia. While every media was busy discussing just the financial aspect of this matter, we were able to notice something that has never really occurred in the history of football before. Bojkov became the only person in the world of sport who has owned the two biggest football rivals known in Bulgaria – Levski Sofia and CSKA.

One of the richest Bulgarians managed to help the “reds” survive and prosper in the period 1999-2006, but withdrew after not receiving the due recognition from the fans of the football club. It is for a fact that under Bojkov’s ownership and support CSKA managed to score some of their greatest results and
wins over world-leading teams. This includes the elimination of Bayer Leverkusen with two winning games. The Bulgarian team sensationally eliminated Bayer Leverkusen from the UEFA Cup with 1-0, throwing CSKA and their supporters into euphoria at the end of the event. Let us remind that another historic shocker was the match that the reds won against the European champion Liverpool in a

Champions League qualifier back in 2005. Interestingly, even during the time of ownership of the reds, Bojkov remained a great supporter of Levski Sofia. And now, the spotlight is finally on CSKA’s biggest enemy. The football club has been suffering a financial crisis for quite some time now and is currently in an urgent need for a serious stabilization. In a recent interview, Pavel Kolev (Deputy Executive Director of the Bulgarian Football

Union and the new CEO of Levski Sofia) pointed out that the debts of the blue ones are around 32 million leva. The role of the Bulgarian billionaire, however, sets the hopes high as he is expected to help the football club come back to life and achieve financial stabilization, in the first place. Nevertheless, as it seems though, the history of Bojkov and CSKA is not entirely over. Rumors have been trying to link Vasil Bojkov to the CSKA 1948 project for the past years, and just recently, the businessman became an official sponsor of the newly established club, which gets

The Eternal Derby going on a slightly different level. Speaking of it, The Eternal Derby of Bulgarian Football or simply The Eternal Derby is the name of the local derby football match between the two aforementioned most popular and successful football clubs in Bulgaria. They have won 26 (Levski) and 31 (CSKA) national championship titles and 25 (Levski) and 20 (CSKA) Bulgarian Cup titles, respectively. This emotional for the fans and fierce for the teams rivalry started back in the late 1940’s when the newly established club of CSKA became a champion in a much competitive football that took place in 1948. Rivalries in the world of sport can turn a whole game into something never experienced before in the same old way. Stakes are high and emotions are tense for one can hardly know which player or team will win in the end. Surprises are something very common. Expectations are taken to the next level but as it has been proven over the years, no atmosphere can compare to that of a real rivalry in football. We can place the football derbies among the best sports rivalries of all time, that’s for sure. And same goes not only to the biggest international football “enemy” clubs in the world but also to those on a local
level. Like Levski Sofia and CSKA.

Yet, the question now is, is the blue team going to be in a position of a healthy profit from this moment on and will the man, who has owned the greatest rivals in the Bulgarian football, help the blue ones become the winning ones?

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Bethany Cooper, Freelance writer
London, UK
Original source

If you enjoy Game of Thrones, then you’ll love this


Sirens, dragons, treasure and epic battles – the Golden Fleece has it all …

62 stunning treasures have been specially picked from Vassil Bojkov’s extensive collection of over 3000, and they are part of the National Gallery of Arts in Sofia presenting an astounding exhibition named ‘The Golden Fleece. The Quest of the Argonauts’ from the 16th of March to the 10th of June 2018. This exhibition proudly displays various aspects of religion and ritual practices from the Thracians; for 16 of the artefacts, it is the very first time they are able to be seen by the public.

Some of the unseen treasures include a few types of silver kantharos, silver rhytons, a silver kylix and many more. One silver kantharos depicts the golden ram’s sacrifice which transferred Helle and Phrixus to Colchis, which is the centre of the exhibition. Another kantharos beautifully illustrates Theseus, the king and founder of Athens, in Crete which is dated from 440-435 BC. A gorgeous silver rhyton depicting Silenus, who was a satyr and tutor to Dionysus, dates from late 3rd-early 2nd century BC. Finally, the silver kilyx shows Theseus with the Marathonian Bull in astounding detail which is dated from 445-440 BC. These few intriguing examples barely scratch the surface of what’s shown in the exhibition.

If you enjoy Game of Thrones

Delphi, Samothrace, Thracian Kingdoms, Amazon lands, Colchis and Crete- There are few places missed from this famous story of the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. Anyone who goes to see this exhibition will be whisked away into almost tangible worlds from the intricate designs and history of these artefacts. With everything the Golden Fleece represents- fertility, kingship, sacrifice- anybody who knows a lot or a little can’t help but to get lost in the rich story and intriguing history of the myth itself, let alone the amazing treasures that come along with it. The sacrificial representation itself is placed in the centre of this display of timeless artefacts, which magnifies the pure extent to which this mythology has affected people, stories and culture even to this day.

The story of the Golden Fleece itself is intriguing- A man named Jason wants to take the throne back from his uncle Pelias, who stole it from Jason’s father; Pelias tells Jason that for him to give up the throne, Jason will have to retrieve the Golden Fleece from Colchis. He gets a boat named the Argo (made by a person named Argus) and assembles all the heroes and demigods of Ancient Greece, including Heracles who was the strongest of the warriors.

The first island was Lemnos, which was entirely populated by women; unbeknownst to the crew, they had slaughtered all men on that island. Many variations state that all the men but Heracles helped ‘repopulate’ the island before they left. After sailing through the Hellespont, they reach an island named the Diolones where they meet and befriend King Cyzucis. When they leave, a storm directs them back to this island and both sides mistake each other for enemies- nobody realised until the King was dead. His wife kills herself and the Argonauts hold a funeral for them. On the island of Cius, Hylas (the squire and possible lover of Heracles) drowns and Heracles refuses to leave the island, so he has to be left behind. At Bebrysis, the King Amicus challenges Polydeuces to a boxing match and loses. At Bosporus, the prophet and King Phineus- who is blind and punished for oversharing information by harpies eating all the island’s food- tells the Argonauts how to get through the Clashing Rocks after they defeat the harpies. After getting through the Clashing Rocks and going through a few other strange places, the Argonauts rescue people off of a sinking ship. These people turned out to be the sons of Phrixus(who brought the golden ram to Colchis) and the crew finds out that there is a dragon guarding the fleece.

Finally, they arrive in Colchis. They meet King Aetes, who tells Jason he has to complete three tasks in order to get the fleece. Firstly, to till a field using oxen that breathe fire. Secondly, to plant dragon teeth in the soil and defeat the warriors that grow out of it. Thirdly, to defeat the dragon that guards the fleece. The goddess Hera sees this and convinces Eros (Cupid) to make Medea, the daughter or Aeetes and a skilled sorceress, fall in love with Jason. For the first task, Medea gives Jason an ointment that protects him from the oxen fire. For the second task, she tells him that the warriors aren’t very smart, so he throws a rock amidst them and they fight each other to the death. For the third task, Medea gives Jason a sleeping potion which he uses on the dragon.

On the way back, King Aeetes gets angry and tries to follow them, but Medea lures her brother Apsyrtus aboard and, when Aeetes catches up, Jason cuts him up into small pieces, so the King must stop and give Apsyrtus a proper burial. Zeus didn’t like this and sent a storm to blow Argo off course; they had to stop for a sorceress to cleanse Medea of this deed. After making their way past sirens, they encounter Talos and defeat him by pulling a nail from his ankle, which turned out to be his weak spot. The Argonauts return, and Jason takes the throne back from Pelias.

This inspiring exhibition can be easily compared to some of the leading expositions in the world – such as the ones in the Metropolitan Museum, The Hermitage in Moscow or even the Louvre” – says Prof. Atanasios Sideris, archeologist and Head Curator of the Vasil Bojkov Collection.

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Bethany Cooper, Freelance writer
London, UK

UNIQUE IN THE WORLD: Never before shown antiques retell Ancient Greek myths

The only vessels ever discovered with gilded images of Orpheus are to be on display in Sofia.

These vessels have never been displayed in public before. The depict gilded images of Orpheus and will be on display in The National Gallery, Sofia. They are part of a private collection and, together with another 60 exhibits, retell the myth of the Golden Fleece.

According to archaeologists, some of the largest museums in the world will be envious of this exhibition. The fantastic story about the adventures of the Argonauts, who organized an expedition to search for the Golden Fleece, will come to life in the National Gallery. One of the most popular ancient Greek myths portrayed in antique artifacts. Some of them have never before been shown to the world.

There are few museums that can display such rare objects made of metal, silver, and gold, with the myth of the Argonauts recreated on them. The fact that the collection is private is even more rare. There are only a few collections like this in the world, Prof. Dr. Athanasios Sideris, archaeologist and curator of the exhibition, said.

THE GOLDEN FLEECE“: An exhibition of unique antique artifacts in Sofia

Our walk in the past goes through sacred places, Thracian kingdoms and lands of legendary Amazons. It reveals to us the secrets of kingship and the connection between the ancient people and the gods.

The “culprit” for the exhibition is a silver kantharos with a scene of sacrificing a ram. Gold sheets have been used for its construction. There is a similar kantharos only in one more place in the world – the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. When the vessel was handed over for restoration in Prof. Inkova’s hands, the kantharos was broken into dozens of pieces.

These 62 pieces are part of the personal collection of the businessman Vasil Bojkov. The collection contains more than 3,000 antique objects. 16 of them are shown for the first time – gold and silver vessels, amphoras and the richest collection of rhytones in Bulgaria. The most spectacular and luxurious for its time is a rhytone with the figure of Silenus, lying on a panther’s skin. It was crafted in Asia Minor and found entirely preserved – somewhere here, across the Balkans.

Rhytons usually depict animals – horses, does, lions. This one is decorated with a human figure. This is extremely rare! Do not think that the ancient people had drunk from it every day. Such expensive items were made only for rituals in honor of god Dionysus, Prof. Dr. Athanasios Sideris, archaeologist and curator of the exhibition, explains.

The pearl in the exhibition, yet, is a silver kantharos with images of the legendary rulers Theseus and Minos and the goddesses Athens and Aphrodite. To see this on metal was almost impossible, Prof. Sideris explains. The vessel has come to our lands as a gift from the ancient Greeks to the Thracians.

On each portrayal it is finely written who is who. This is great wealth, as we don‘t have to guess that. The workmanship is like that of a jeweler. It is like a piece of jewelry, Sideris considers. I can say that most of them are unimaginably expensive!

The Argonauts and the quest for the Golden Fleece exhibition will be on display in the National Gallery for the next three months.

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Paul Simon, Freelance writer
London, UK