Bulgaria, Sofia, 4 Cherni vruh
The National Museum "Earth and Man" is one of the biggest mineralogical museums in the world.
It opened its exhibitions for visitors in 1987. The museum is located in the city center of Sofia and is housed in a restored and adapted to its needs building - a monument, built in the late 19th century.
In furtherance of its mission, the museum is dedicated to following two major directions, namely:
- Collect, study, preserve and present mineral specimens and materials
- Implement cultural, educational, scientific, innovative and nature conservation projects
The hall with the giant crystals serves as an art gallery of nature (natural art). Giant crystals are extremely rarely found in nature, and galleries with entire collections of them can be seen in only a few places in the world.
In the "crystal forest" visitors become part of the great mystery and harmony of nature, broaden their horizons and awaken their curiosity and environmental awareness.
The exhibit consists mainly of crystalline quartz varieties, such as rock crystal, amethyst, morion, smoked quartz, citrine. Among these varieties there are also impressive specimens of beryl, tourmaline, mica, apatite, gypsum, feldspar, hematite and fluorite, which have been gathered from various world regions, including from Bulgaria.
Giant exhibits allow important crystals features to be explored and examined without any special equipment.
For laymen visitors this gathering in one place of such gigantic crystals, powerful natural energy sources, makes the room a unique place, suitable for relaxation or for new inspiring creative ideas.
Here one involuntarily asks oneself: Are crystals “inorganic” nature?
Every mineral species is given a unique name by its discoverer, usually being named to renowned individuals and scholars (goethite, lomonosovite), geographical concept of its first location (antarctite, vesuvianite), specific physical properties (achroite, rhodonite), or chemistry (aurostibite, cavansite).
The systematic collection of the museum includes 1 500 mineral species and more than 200 of their variations. Minerals are brought from 106 countries, among which Bulgaria, Russia, Czech Republic, USA, Japan and Kazakhstan are best represented.
Gemstones are mainly minerals, characterized by beautiful color, transparency, strong luster, multicolor effect (play of colors) etc. They have high hardness, chemical resistance and can be easily cut and polished. For a stone to be precious it also has to be rare.
In the exhibition "Precious and ornamental stones" almost all the gemstones can be seen in both natural and processed form. An interesting part of the exhibit are the very large topazes from Volyn, Ukraine (13.5 kg.) that have impressive colors and exquisite quality.