Aug 06

The National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History (Muzeul de Etnografie si Istorie Naturala)

The oldest museum to be found on the territory of the Republic of Moldova is the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History. The museum is situated in the capital city of the country, in Chisinau and dates from 1889.

The founder of the institution is Baron A. Stuart who had put the basis for a museum of agriculture. Initially, the museum was held in a different building, but it moved to the site where it is still found today in 1905, when the specific edifice was built under the supervision of V Tsigankov (the architect to design the building). Even the name had suffered several alterations throughout time, but the purpose for which it was designed had not changed. The museum is meant to study the natural environment and the culture of the Republic of Moldova.


The museum has gained recognition beyond the borders of the country, being known as an important educational center of Bessarabia.

The collections found within the museum are divided in two categories. On the one hand, there are the collections which comprise elements of flora and fauna, both the ones which form the natural environment at present and the ones which used to exist in the past. Thus visitors can have a look at the way in which the environment had been transformed in time – a process occurring due to the climactic changes as well as to the human intervention: deforestation, inter-species breeding, etc. The evolution of nature is historically tracked since the Achaean era up until the present day.


The other section is dedicated strictly to the culture of Bessarabia. This means that the items encountered here reflect the way of life of the civilizations which had dwelt in this area, including their traditions, habits and attire. In this particular section, visitors will find various types of objects which were used either in household activities or in different works. The items on display will present the exact evolution of the peoples which had lived here in different periods of time. Tourists are particularly interested in the traditional wear and the elements of interior decoration which used to adorn the houses in past times.


The collections encountered here pertain to several domains: paleontology, geology, zoology, archeology, ethnography, and numismatics. Visitors will also indulge themselves with a tour in the botanical garden of the museum which has been created a year after the institution relocated in the new building (in 1906), making it the first botanical garden to exist on this territory.

The National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History is also renowned for the unique pieces it possesses. Among these there is the skeleton of an enormous dinothere, an extinct elephant-like mammal that lived in the Pliocene Epoch, which was discovered in 1966. In order to comprehend the importance and value of the collections found at the museum, you should know that particular items have traveled the world, being exhibited in Europe, America, Asia and Africa as the Moldovan cultural heritage.


Visiting hours:

The museum is opened for visitations on a daily basis (with the exception of Mondays) from 10:00 until 18:00. As it usually is with institutions, the museum is closed during national holidays. In order to gain access within the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History one must cover a fee (5 Moldovan Lei). Photographing and video-recording the museum is permitted as long as an additional fee is covered.

Aug 03

The Romanian National Museum of History (Muzeul National de Istorie)

The Romanian National Museum of History is located on Victoria Avenue, in the Romanian capital city, Bucharest. The edifice which houses the museum is actually the Post-Office Palace which has been constructed back in the last years of the 19th century. History has it that the town council decided to erect the palace on the ruins of an inn which burnt down in 1847.

The architect behind the project, Alexandru Savulescu, designed a neoclassical building which consisted of an entranceway supported by ten Doric columns (the organizational system developed in Ancient Greece according to which the piers were placed directly on the flat pavement). The architect designed steps at the entrance which spread throughout the length of the façade.


The building presents on both sides (the left and right extremities) two domes, which give an imposing look to the construction. The central post office of the city had its office here for 70 years, since 1970, when the edifice underwent a refurbishing process. Part of this process consisted of rearranging the building so as to meet the needs of a museum.

The museum was inaugurated in 1972 and the collections encountered here have expended year after year so that at present visitors can admire close to 690.000 objects: 78.580 items belong to the archeological domain, 183.714retrace the historical past, the numismatic collection consists of a little over 333.500 items, there are 605 old volumes and more than 80.000 items connected to the study of stamps and postal history.


The museum comprises a special section where monuments from Greece, Rome and the Medieval Times are on display. The collections encountered here contain sculptures, items of décor, religious monuments and documents.

The documents retrace different historical periods – one of the most important documents  is Hotărnicia Histriei (the paper through which the future of Histria was determined). This was issued by Laberius Maximus in 100 A.D. and comprised the territorial demarcation of the province as well as some fiscal exceptions granted for fishing in the Danube Delta.


Visitors can also gaze upon various types of funeral monuments. According to specific timeframes, the funeral ritual was conducted in a different manner and the monuments used to adorn the resting place of the defunct were constantly changing. These were represented by statuettes, pedestals, inscriptions, altars, representations of mythological beings or stars. Usually the monuments used for funerals comprise two parts: the part with the engraving and the one with the decorations. The lettering inscribed on the funeral stone was usually done in Latin, with some exceptions in which they were written in Greek.

The Romanian National Museum of History also contains 7 sculptures which have been discovered in Moesia Inferior. There is only one sculpture which depicts a male personage, whereas the rest are representations of women in different postures.


In terms of architectural items, the museum has on display ruins from the ancient cities Tomis and Callatis. The Middle Ages are represented through various items with religious symbolism, engravings, gravestones as well as objects alluding to the architectural styles used in that period.

Taking into account that this is the national museum of Romania it is obvious that it contains bits and pieces from each of the ancient civilizations that have dwelt in the region such as the Hellenic civilization or the Dacians.


Everything from original documents, items of furniture, weaponry, manuscripts, paintings and numismatic collections can be found within the walls of the National Museum of History.

Valuable items, such as precious stones and items made of silver and gold are located in the subterranean vault. These items come in different shapes and sizes, such as golden idols, crucifixes, together with the treasure of the Visigoths (Germanic people) and that of the royal family.

There are numerous objects of immense value located in the National Museum of History, each of them contributing to the rewriting of Romania’s history.