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    Petrified ForestPetrified Forest Varna, Bulgaria
    The Pobiti Kamani or petrified forest can be found on the Pobiti Kamani Natural Reserve near Varna, Bulgaria and actually resembles a huge petrified forest, although the figures are really limestone columns that rise up from the ground like old stumps of trees that had died thousands of years ago and became hardened through some type of metamorphisis. These unique columns occupy some 253 acres of land that has fascinated and mystified people for millennia, and would become the first Bulgarian Natural Preserve ever created, which happened in 1937. Some of the columns reach as high as twenty feet and are up to 8 feet thick. Scientists and archaeologists believe that more than 50 million years ago, this area was covered with water and eventually became a seabed of sand with marine life dieing and sinking to the bed, into the cracks and crevices creating these magnificent lime columns in the sand. As the waters receded, like they did when the flood of Noah covered the surface and left, the seabeds became land, and as the years passed, the columns that were made of tiny shells and skeletons would erode away and leave just the columns.

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    Varna Archaeological MuseumVarna Archaeological Museum Varna, Bulgaria
    this incredible archaeological museum that is located in the city of Varna, Bulgaria and sits beside the Black Sea, founded in 1888, when the city library was started and they wanted to include a museum. It sits in a historical structure that was designed in the Neo-renaissance style by the famous architect, Petko Momchilov and constructed between 1892 and 1898 for the Varna Girls' School. In 1945, it would be acquired by the state and beginning in 1993, the entire building would become part of the museum. It is one of the biggest museums in the country and contains a large exhibition area that showcases relics from the pre-historic, Thracian, Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman period of the area's history, along with periods from the medieval Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires, the Ottoman rule and the Bulgarian Nationa Revival including some 900 revival and medieval icons. The most interesting and probably favorite exhibit in the museum is the gold of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world that had been excavated in 1972, and dates to the 4600-4200 BC period and is housed in three different exhibition halls. This museum also operates two open-air archaeological sites that include the big Roman baths in the city's center and the medieval grotto of Aladzha Monastery at the Golden Sands Nature Park. There are four more sites being preserved and should be added to the museum's roster sometime soon. It also houses a children's study museum, cafeteria, library and gift shop.

January 5, 2014