National Art Gallery - Royal Palace
The Royal Palace was built on the site of the former “konak” (an Ottoman town hall and police station) of Sofia. The solid stone foundations of the Konak and parts of the main façade were rehashed for the purpose. The Palace was inaugurated in 1882 and over the next 30 years was considered an exemplar of late 19th- and early 20th- century public and even residential architecture. Following the events of September 9, 1944, the palace became headquarters of the Council of Ministers and the interior lost its authenticity. In 1953 most of the building was granted to the National Art Gallery and Ethnographic Museum. The palace was proclaimed a cultural monument in 1978.
The main purpose of the National Art Gallery is to collect, study, preserve, restore and present examples of contemporary Bulgarian and foreign art and other movable cultural property. The Gallery has several departments: Old Bulgarian Art, Bulgarian Christian Art (18th-19th centuries), The Art of the Middle Ages (10th to 14th century); Contemporary, Decorative Bulgarian and foreign art sections, etc. Some of best works of great Bulgarian masters of the brush such as Vladimir Dimitrov the Master, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Sirak Skitnik and others are exhibited there. Foreign artists who created their works in Bulgaria are presented as well - Ivan Markvichka, Jaroslaw Veshin and others.
The National Gallery of Art has several branches - the Crypt at the "St. Alexander Nevsky“ Memorial Cathedral, the Museum of socialist art, National gallery-SAMCA, Square 500, the house-museums of the sculptor Ivan Lazarov and the artists Nikola Tanev and Vera Nedkova.