Bulgarian Finance Minister 'Finds' Money for Archeology Digs

Archaeology | August 12, 2010, Thursday // 11:28|  views

Sliven Bishop Yoanikiy (center left) and Diaspora Minister Bozhidar Dimitrov (middle right) look at the relics of St. John the Baptist before laying them in state in the St. George Church in Sozopol. Photo by Darik News

Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry allotted Thursday BGN 857 000 from the State budget for archeology excavations on the request of the Culture Ministry.

The money was not planned in the culture budget, but giving additional funds in the summer, which is the active archeology season, has become common practice in Bulgaria. The Culture Ministry, however, was unable to offer information how much and what way funds were slated in years before. From the institution, headed by Vezhdi Rashidov, say they are ecstatic their colleagues were able to find the money in times of crisis.

The move comes in the heels of the discovery in the coastal town of Sozopol of a precious find – what is believed to be the relics of St. John the Baptist. Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, was one of the many who traveled to the coast to see the relics.

Last week, the cabinet gave another BGN 420 000 for restoration of the church where the relics will be kept, while Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, announced he will pay more from his own pocket for the special box that will be on display.

From the BGN 857 000, granted on Rashidov’s personal request, BGN 30 000 will be use for excavation of the island of St. Ivan where the relics were discovered. The work of the archeology team there, led by Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov, has been funded so far by Norway with over EUR 584 000.

The most funds – BGN 200 000 each will go to Pliska, Veliki Preslav and BGN 100 000 for Trapezitsa in Veliko Tarnovo (Medieval capitals of Bulgaria), while the rest is for the Thracian shrines at Belen-Tash and Kozi Gramadi, the old Bulgarian necropolis near the village of Topola, the Rodostica fortress near Ivaylovgrad, the St. Mother of God Pantanassa monastery near Melnik, the St. Knyaz Boris monastery near Varna, as well as the prehistoric sites at Dabene and Provadiya.

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Tags: finance minister, Simeon Djankov, Kazimir Popkonstantinov, relics, St. John the Baptist, Sozopol, archaeology, archaeologist, Diaspora Minister, Bozhidar Dimitrov, Bulgarian Orthodox Church, archeology excavations, Vezhdi Rashidov, Culture Ministry


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