The Museum of Medicine at Medical University of Plovdiv (Bulgaria) was founded in 2018 (protocol №2 / 15.03.2018). Archaeologists, anthropologists, historians of medicine, librarians worked together to develop the concept of the museum exhibition and to put together a unique collection of objects and artefacts. Within the Museum functions a Library with a rich collection of specialized old medical and historical books and manuals in different languages. Numerous donors have responded to the calls to donate items and books related to the history of medicine.
The Museum of Medicine at the Medical University of Plovdiv has become one of the attractive sites in Plovdiv – the European Capital of Culture for 2019.
The collection is separated into 4 time periods:
• The first time period covers the time from the appearance of the earliest known settlement on the Three Hills during the Stone-Copper Age (IV millennium BC) to the division of the Roman Empire at the end of the IV century. The available exhibits characterizing medical practices during this long period include: flint knives, miniatures of clay anthropomorphic figures, amulets, cult tables and vessels used for rituals, replicas of ancient bronze and iron surgical instruments, models of coins with images of health deities, Roman water and sewer pipes, sports equipment, replicas of votive plaques and figures of gods from the health pantheon, herbariums with medicinal plants used by the Thracians and a collection of minerals.
• The second time period includes the period of Plovdiv’s existence within Byzantium, the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdoms until the conquest of the city by the Ottoman Turks. In the historical-medical aspect this period is characterized by the emergence and establishment of monastic medicine. The exhibition features replicas of icons of saints-healers, а copy of the typicon of Gregory Bakuriani for the Bachkovo Monastery (in its part for medical practice in the monastery), a copy of a mural depicting Galen, replicas of crosses. A special highlight in this hall is the paleoanthropological exposition with numerous bone specimens from the medieval necropolis to the Episcopal Basilica of Philippopolis, whose textual, photographic and graphic explanations tell us what diseases people suffered from in the Middle Ages.
• In the third period, exhibits related to medical practice from the period of Ottoman period and the Renaissance are displayed. Copies of Ottoman documents related to the Imaret Mosque Medical School, hygienic utensils from the era, a tombstone of a 17th century physician (donated by the district mufti), a replica of an amulet scroll from the 17th century, prophecy-related items and dental pliers are on display.
We learn more about the first medical practitioners from Plovdiv before the Liberation from their photos, documents and personal items. The exhibition also includes a section for physicians from other nationalities who lived and practiced in the multiethnic and multicultural environment of Plovdiv (Armenians, Jews, Turks, Greeks, etc.). An interesting highlight of the exhibition is the collection of Ottoman clay pipes from Plovdiv which reminds us of the permanent establishment in the Bulgarian lands.
• The fourth period traces the history of medical care in Plovdiv during the Liberation War and the beginning of health care related activities in the city, until the late 40s of the 20th century, when the Medical University of Plovdiv was established. The exhibition features tools, equipment, objects, books, diplomas, documents, etc., donated by the heirs of medical and dental doctors, and pharmacists from Plovdiv.
• The Museum Library stores a large number of books, medical textbooks, magazines, newspapers.in different languages which are already hard to find in a library and can be of use to anyone interested in the history of medicine.