In the last couple of days we have been witnessing an unprecedented violation against world cultural and historical heritage, taking place in Bulgaria.
Following last month’s attempts of the state to nationalize the lottery business of the Bulgarian businessman and philanthropist Vassil Bojkov, on January 29 (Wednesday), Bulgarian authorities stormed in the laboratory and museum of Thrace Foundation and began seizing priceless artefacts from the Vassil Bojkov Collection.
At the moment, the Bulgarian authorities are blatantly violating the law by seizing priceless objects from the Vasil Bojkov Collection without any legal justification. The authorities made the decision to export fragile and unique works of art in plastic bags during the unregulated raid that took place in the building of Nove AD Holding, which has the status of a museum. The stress that the academics as well as the staff of Thrace Foundation were subjected to was utterly inhumane, to say the least.
Such barbaric behaviour and deliberately demonstrative acts toward the priceless cultural and historical heritage of Bulgaria are not only unprecedented but also deprived of the simplest understanding of the significance of these objects. Even more, it is completely unjustified by the law and unbecoming of the standards of justice and due process that are to be expected from a country member of the European Union.
On behalf of Thrace Foundation, we strongly oppose the uncivilized and unlawful actions by the authorities. We ask for an end to the attempts to create public pressure by destroying the so valuable antiquities signifying not just the Bulgarian history but that of the whole world too.
It is important to note that the collection, owned by a museum, is preserved by Thrace Foundation and it has all the necessary documents. It is absolutely legal and has been exhibited around the world, including Moscow, Brussels, Bonn, as well as in the National Museum of History (Sofia). The artefacts must be stored under certain conditions and can be transported only under strictly defined rules, since even the slightest changes in temperature can lead to damages.
Because of the fragile condition of some of the items in the collection, they demand to be treated with extreme care.
Every unprofessional interference will cause severe damage to the relics of tremendous scientific and cultural value. Taking them by force and without the necessary expertise and a set of documents guaranteeing their preservation is a horrific act against the world’s cultural and historical heritage and will lead to their destruction.
We would like to remind that the destruction of cultural and historical heritage in some cases could be considered a war crime or even a crime against humanity, according to international laws.
Thrace Foundation’s mission was and always will be to encourage the development of national identity through ancient heritage. Throughout this process we hope to enrich the cultural heritage of our nation and position Bulgaria among the major centres of the Classical studies. Through promoting and preserving the rare artefacts in the collection, we have always aimed to provide new ground for research to scholars and exchange of scientific knowledge on an international level and up to this day the Thrace Foundation has granted access to the Vassil Bojkov Collection to scholars, archaeologists and historians from all over the world to help with their studies.