The Balkan Heritage Foundation


55,000,000 People

505,000 Square Kilometers

6 Seas

1, 800 ,000 Years of Human History

12 Countries   

1 Peninsula


The Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF) is a Bulgarian public, non-profit, non-governmental organization. It was established in 2008 by a team of a cross-institutional program implementing archaeological field schools other cultural resource management projects since 2003. Its head office is situated in Stara Zagora and another front office (the one of the Balkan Heritage Field School) is located in the capital Sofia. Four branches of the foundation exist in Varna, Mezek, Dragoman and Emona (Bulgaria).

The Balkan Heritage Foundation’s mission is to support the protection, conservation, management and promotion of cultural and historical (both tangible and intangible) heritage of Southeastern Europe as precondition for sustainable development of the region.

The Balkan Heritage Foundation collaborates on local and global level with universities, museums, research institutes, media, business companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations. It raises funds and consequently funds projects implemented by research institutes and scientific teams, universities,museums, municipalities and local communities.

The Balkan Heritage Foundation seeks to:   

  • enhance the utilization of cultural heritage and improvement of the management of cultural heritage as preconditions for sustainable development in SE Europe;
  • facilitate the global "access", both direct and virtual, to the Balkan heritage especially for international scholars, students, donors and tourists;
  • raise the level of global cooperation and exchange of ideas, know-how, expertise and resources concerning Balkan heritage;
  • foster unification of the heritage nomenclature (terms, periods, names etc.) and online publications of capital fundamental writings and summaries concerning Balkan archaeology, art, history and culture in English- especially those which concern civilizations, cultures, sites and artifacts that are globally less known;   
  • build and develop links among major Balkan heritage stake-holders.


Since it was founded, the foundation has been implementing and/ or financially supporting the following programs, projects and activities:   

Balkan Heritage Field School 

The Balkan Heritage Field School is a program fully managed and funded by the Balkan Heritage Foundation. Since 2003, it has implemented 36 projects with the participation of Bulgarian, Macedonian, Canadian, Japanese, US and French archaeologists, conservators and heritage experts as well as more than 1100 students and volunteers from all over the world in: Mezdra, Dragoman, Stara Zagara, Emona, Varna, Sozopol, Mezek, Sofia, Ilndentsi, Septemvri and Pazardzhik (Bulgaria), Bitola and Stobi (Republic of Macedonia). Each field school project involves experts and students and combines elements of academic and non-formal education: lectures and training courses, excavations, workshops, lab work and field trips that enable students to gain valuable hands-on experience and excursions to attractive archaeological and cultural sites around the project's location. All the field school projects are implemented in cooperation with, and accredited as academic courses, by New Bulgarian University, Sofia.   

Support For Archaeology And Heritge Conservation In South-Eastern Europe Program

Within this program the Balkan Heritage Foundation has funded the following archaeological, conservation and documentation projects:

Excavation of Tell Yunatsite, Bulgaria (since 2013) - in cooperation with the Regional Museum of History in Pazardzhik (Bulgaria). Excavation of the lower Chalcolithic layers in the so called Vassil Mikov’s trench of the multi-period tell.

Excavation of the Ancient Greek Emporion Pistiros, Bulgaria (since 2013) in cooperation with the Regional Museum of History in Pazardzhik and Archaeological Museum of Septemvri (Bulgaria). Excavations at the Classical and Hellenistic emporion located deep in Ancient Thrace near present-day Septemvri, Bulgaria.   

Apollonia Pontica Excavation Project (since 2011)- in cooperation with Apollonia Pontica Excavation Team (Bulgaria). Excavation of the multi-period (Ancient Greek, Late Antique and Medieval) site on the island of St. Kirik (next to Sozopol, Ancient Apollonia Pontica), Bulgaria.      

Ilindentsi Excavation Project (since 2011) - in cooperation with Blagoevgrad Regional Museum of History, New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria) and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Nanterre (France). Excavations at the Early Neolithic settlement (6000 – 5500 BC) established by one of the earliest farming communities in Europe near Ilindentsi, Bulgaria.

Stobi Excavation Project (since 2010) - in cooperation with National Institute Stobi (Republic of Macedonia). Excavations at the Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique city of Stobi, Macedonia.    

Workshops for Documentation, Conservation and Restoration of Roman and Late Roman Pottery, Glassware, Mural Paintings and Mosaics at Stobi, Macedonia (since 2010) - in cooperation with National Institute Stobi (Republic of Macedonia). In the period 2010-2014 the local and the visiting Balkan heritage affiliated conservators completely restored more than 70 (ceramic) and 9 (glass) Roman vessels and wall-painting fragments from the collection of National Institute of Stobi and successfully implemented projects for conservation of wall-paintings and mosaics at the Episcopal basilica, mosaics at the House of Peristeria, the House with a triclinium and the Theodossian Palace as well as the fountain at the House of Peristeria in Stobi.

Workshop for Documentation, Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Greek and Hellenistic Pottery in Sozopol and Emona, Bulgaria (since 2009) - in cooperation with Archaeological Museum of Sozopol and Apollonia Pontica Excavation Team (Bulgaria). It deals with artefacts found in the necropolis of Apollonia Pontica (present-day Sozopol on the Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria). In the period 2009-2014 thank to the Balkan Heritage affiliated conservator Daniela Cherneva (Senior conservator at the National Museum of History, Sofia) and the field school participants more than 100 Ancient Greek vessels from the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Sozopol were completely restored.

“Fresco-Hunting” Photo Research Expedition to Medieval Balkan Churches (since 2008) - in cooperation with New Bulgarian University and Conservation of Sculptures Monuments & Objects (a private Canadian company). An expedition for documentation of abandoned medieval churches and chapels (with focus on their frescoes) in remote areas of Western Bulgaria. The objective is: development of a contemporary database, publication of a ‘Corpus of Medieval Frescoes from Western Bulgaria’ and creating preconditions for further projects to support the sites in danger through conservation, restoration, development/improvement of the site's management and fund-raising. By 2014 twelve churches from the region have been visited and studied.

Djanavara Excavation Project (2009 - 2011) - in cooperation with Varna Regional Museum of History (Bulgaria). The excavations in 2009-2011 on Djanavara hill in Varna, Bulgaria revealed that the remains of a monumental Early Byzantine church excavated there back in the early 20-th century belonged to a monastery, which was destroyed by the raid of Avars and Slavs in the early seventh century AD.       

Heraclea Lyncestis Excavation Project (2008 - 2012)in cooperation with National Institute and Museum Bitola (Republic of Macedonia) and Youth Cultural Center Bitola (Republic of Macedonia). Excavations at the Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique city Heraclea Lyncestis near Bitola, Macedonia - concentrated in the area in front of the monumental Roman Theater built in the second century AD.   

Augusta Trajana – Beroia – Borui Rescue Excavation Project (2008-2009) - in cooperation with Stara Zagora Regional Museum of History (Bulgaria). Rescue excavations of Roman urban structures (city walls, residential and public buildings, an aqueduct), a medieval church and a cemetery under the 15th century-Ottoman mosque Eski Dzami in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.

Advocacy and Voluntarism Program

Exchange of volunteer and professionals - 2 long-term volunteer exchanges hosting an American and an Australian volunteer in the period 2012-2014. A dozen small-scale volunteers and professionals exchange projects were realized within the period 2009-2013 predominantly with participants from Bulgaria, USA, Canada and Japan supporting the realization of archaeological and conservation projects in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Volunteer work camps supporting cultural heritage protection - in cooperation with Stara Zagora Regional Museum of History, municipalities of Dragoman and Svilengrad (Bulgaria) and Youth Cultural Center Bitola (Macedonia).In 2008-2009 four work camps took place in Bitola (Macedonia), Stara Zagora, Dragoman and Mezek (Bulgaria). App. 40 volunteers contributed to the undergoing study projects (esp. excavations in Stara Zagora and Bitola as well as an expedition in Dragoman area) and maintenance of local cultural sites and tourist facilities (in Stara Zagora and Mezek).   

Campaigns for raising public awareness on local heritage issues in Stara Zagora (2008) and Mezek (2009), Bulgaria.

Development of regional strategies for the utilization and management of cultural heritage and development of cultural tourism for municipalities of Svilengrad and Dragoman, Bulgaria.



204 Sveta Troitsa str.,

BG - 6004 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Phones: + 359 898 681366

E-mail: [email protected]