Exhibition about Lion as Symbol of Bulgarians Still Running in Bucharest

Culture |Author: Vladimir Mitev | December 5, 2016, Monday // 15:49|  views

Copies of documents are shown which reveal how the lion is tied to the Bulgarian statehood - both in the Middle Ages and during the Bulgarian Revival and the national revolutionary struggle. Photos: Vladimir Mitev

Novinite is offering an English-language version of a story about an exhibition about the lion and its eminence in Bulgarian culture that was opened in Bucharest in November.

The text is authored by Vladimir Mitev, a Bulgarian journalist who runs Bridge of Friendship - a blog dedicated to helping Bulgarians and Romanians know each other. Publications on the blog are always out in both Romanian and Bulgarian.

Bulgarians living in Bucharest, Romanian cultural figures, diplomats from different countries and Romanians tempted to know more about Bulgaria gathered on November 07 at the National Museum of History in Bucharest for the opening of an exhibition titled The Lion – the National Symbol of Bulgarians.

The exhibition is part of the Ivan Vazov National Library in Plovdiv [Bulgaria's second-largest city]. Copies of documents are shown that were collected by Aleksandar Gyoshev for his PhD thesis at the National Academy of Art in Sofia dedicated to the lion as a symbol of Bulgarians. The exhibition has already been a guest event in the Czech Republic and Russia.

During the opening, Aleksandar Gyoshev said the symbol being represented has links back to the Medieval Bulgarian state, the Bulgarian Revival [18-19th century], the European and the Balkan heraldic tradition. “The lion links our state to Europe's common heritage,” the scholar underlined. In his opinion, books are not just the prime source for his research, but also for the preservation and affirmation of the Bulgarian identity and spirit.

The cultural attaché with the Republic of Bulgaria's Embassy to Bucharest and exhibition organizer on the Bulgarian side, Yavor Stoyanov, also placed the exhibition within a European context. On the one hand, it is the fourth event this year organizer by the embassy under the Communications Strategy for the EU of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Bulgaria. On the other hand, cooperation between the embassy and the National Museum of History of Romania is an example of European cooperation. The diplomat underscored that it took an exceptionally small amount of time and effort to organize the exhibition as the idea was supported by the museum's management from the outset. Stoyanov added that the lion is a symbol connecting the Romanian and Bulgarian peoples, being present in both national currencies. [The names of both Bulgaria and Romania's currencies, the lev (BGN) and the leu (RON), mean “lion”].

The exhibition's author, Aleksandar Gyoshev (Front-L), with the Bulgarian cultural attaché in Bucharest, Yavor Stoyanov, translating for him into Romanian. Between them, in the background, is Dr Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu. In the left corner is Yohan Devletyan from the Public Relations department at the National Library in Plovdiv, while the head of public relations at the museun, Adela Stan, is in the right one. Photo: Vladimir Mitev

When Mr Stoyanov proposed that the exhibition be organized [in Bucharest], I gladly accepted. It is not only about a desire of a friendly country, but also an issued that is very interesting. As seen in the exhibition, there are several documents, represented with their copies, which are linked to the idea of Bulgarian statehood – pre-modern and modern one. Even the symbol of the lion in the Bulgarian society from the time of national revival has been represented,” the museum's director, Dr Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu, has said. In his opinion, the documents unveil how, at a time Bulgarian lands were in the Ottoman Empire, the idea of Bulgarian statehood had not disappeared and could be discovered in the time of the Bulgarian Revival and revolutionary struggles.

The host of the event added that the exhibition offered to the Romanian public information about the history and culture of a geographically close people. After 1990, however, cultural ties have not always been pursued “to the extent of needs and possibilities of both countries.” “We deem every cultural event to be a testimony that will contribute for our people getting to know each other better, having not only common history, but also historically placed in a very close geographical zone. Familiarization and understanding between our cultures will be an important factor for a dynamic cooperation in the 21st century,” Oberländer-Târnoveanu opines.

The exhibition was unveiled in the lobby of the National Museum of National History in Bucharest. Photo: Vladimir Mitev

The exhibition is also an opportunity to present the Ivan Vazov National Library to a Romanian audience. Yohan Devletyan, who works at the cultural institution's Public Relations department, said that it has 1.5 million archive entities, including books, films, paintings, other pieces of art and documents. A big achievement of the library over the past years is that it has turned into an institution producing and not just storing culture. The exhibition itself, in the words of Devletyan, is an example of the trend he describes.

The cultural event in the Romanian capital also provided an opportunity for a number of informal contacts. The exhibition can be visited by December 11, 2016.

A Romanian-language version is available here.

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Tags: Romania, Bucharest, lion, Plovdiv, Ivan Vazov National Library


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