Transnational Access: Sofia University

Sofiiski Universitet Sveti Kliment Ohridski/Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria: Center for Slavonic and Byzantine Studies

Sofiiski Universitet Sveti Kliment Ohridski Logo

Free Access to Physical and Virtual Sources

This institution is offering free access to physical and virtual sources under the guidance of experts in the framework of ReIReS.

Digital Resources


HISTDICT is a unique electronic infrastructure containing a corpus of digitally typed Old Bulgarian texts with religious content (up to now over 140 with over a million word forms), the digitized Old Bulgarian Dictionary, a reversed Greek-Old Bulgarian Dictionary, based on the e-version of the above mentioned dictionary, Historical Dictionary of Bulgarian language with the respective software for creating and editing dictionary entries. The Historical Dictionary is a developing resource that contains a Grammatical Dictionary with paradigms shown at each processed inflective entry. The infrastructure includes following tools for processing electronic resources:

  • Specialised Unicode Old Bulgarian (OCS) fonts with a convertor.
  • Virtual keyboard for typing OCS texts.
  • Searching Engine.
  • Open access source (dictionary software excluded).
  • Cyrillomethodiana

Cyrillomethodiana includes a Virtual Library with downloadable electronic publications of books related to the fields of Slavic Studies and Religion and an electronic space for auto-publishing. Open access source.

  • Digital Library of the Manuscript of Zograph Monastery on Mount Athos (SLAV)

including also the part of Slavonic mss collection of Vatican Library and some other manuscripts. The contracts between SU and the respective libraries allow only physical contacts with the digital copies through a computer located in SU premises.


is an electronic teaching and learning platform that contains 24 interactive courses in Medieval languages (Old Bulgarian (OCS), Byzantine Greek and History of Bulgarian), Literature, History, Medieval Arts, Philosophy and Theology. The courses of Old Bulgarian, History of Bulgarian and Old Bulgarian Literature are also available in English. Only authorized access to the courses.

  • Manuscripts and Rare Books Collections in the City of Sofia

Manuscript collection kept in the Center for Slavic and Byzantine Studies “Prof. Ivan Dujčev” represents all written traditions of the Balkans in the broad chronological range from the 9th to the 19th cc. This manuscript heritage includes the largest collection of Greek manuscripts in Bulgaria (460 in total), 126 Slavic manuscripts, and over 250 Oriental (Turkish and Arabic) codices and fragments. The Greek parchment manuscripts are more than 200. A “codex unicus” is kept in the library. This is the Gospel Lectionary, written by the scribe Anastatios with a two full-length miniatures of the evangelists from the end of the 9th c. Many of the manuscripts are of Constantinople origin and represent the socalled Bluetenblattstil, which is the style of luxury manuscripts for emperors and patriarchs. There are manuscripts in Laubsagelstill and also many codices with a musical notation. A manuscript made of palimpsest sheets of parchment is stored in the collection. The earlier lower layer of the late 9th c., contains the earliest version of the menaion. Other manuscripts, attracting the attention of researchers are Physiologist with illustrations (a copy from the 17th c.) and an illustrated copy of the Prophecies of Leo the Wise from the 16th century.

  • University Library Rare Books and Incunabula Collections

Sofia University Library is the second largest library in Bulgaria. It possesses a rich collection of Bulgarian rare and old printed books (1806–1878, consisting of approximately 1600 units – books, newspapers and periodicals. First editions of the most renowned authors and religious leaders from that age of the Bulgarian National Revival – Sophronius of Vratsa, Neophyte Rilski, Dr. Petar Beron, G.S. Rakovski and many others are preserved in its collections. Sofia University Library rare and old printed books collection is divided into three parts:

  • Old printed, rare and valuable editions in foreign languages (16th–20th century), which consists of basic writings in different fields of knowledge – history, classical studies, philosophy, natural science, mathematics, law, art studies, etc. Among them are: the oldest book in the field of mathematics – Archimedis Syracusani philosophi ac geometrae excellentissimi Opera… (1544); the first book in Thracology – Histoire des rois de Thrace et de ceux du Bosphore cimmerien, eclaircie par les medailles by Felix Cary (1752); the first book in Slavic Studies – Institutiones linguae Slavicae dialecti veteris by Joseph Dobrovsky (1822) and so on and so forth.
  • Slavica Collection (1519–1922) comprises 862 units (old printed books, manuscripts of lectures and scientific monographs) from the period of 16th -17th cc. It includes rare and valuable editions in Slavic philology stored in Sofia University Library and represents the emergence of the Slavic philology as a leading discipline in the 19th c.
  • Stoyan Romanski Archive preserves all publications of the founder of the Bulgarian Library and Information Science Acad. Stoyan Argirov, manuscripts of his lectures and photographs from his personal archives.

Other Collections

  • National Library Manuscript Collections

The National Library in Sofia was established in 1878. At the same time the formation of the collection of Slavic and foreign languages manuscripts started. The special section “Manuscripts and Early printed books” was established in 1948. It comprises not only manuscripts and incunabula, but also other kind of documents like photographs etc. The Slavonic and foreign languages manuscript collection consists of almost 1700 items. It preserves Bulgarian, Serbian, Moldavian and Russian codices and fragments thus representing the history of our written culture in the late Middle Ages and the period of the National Revival. There are many Greek manuscripts as well. It is worth mentioning also the Latin, German, Italian, Rumanian manuscripts kept in the National Library. The Early printed, rare and valuable books collection consists of about 17 000 items – books and periodicals published between 15th and 19th century. There are: Cyrillic books and periodicals (15th -19th cc); Bulgarian rare books (printed after 1878); Early printed and rare books in foreign languages (15th -19th cc). Most of the Bulgarian early printed books and periodicals are from the period of the National Revival (1806-1878). The “Manuscripts and Early printed Books” fund preserves also copies of microfilms of Slavic manuscripts kept in other libraries not only in Bulgaria, but also abroad.

Oriental documents collection: manuscripts, rare books, administrative documents, periodicals, seals and other documents written or printed in Arabic. The collection is a valuable resource for studying the history of Ottoman rule on the Balkans and in Bulgaria in particular. It includes 500 000 units or over a million folia. Oriental manuscript collection consists of 3807 volumes in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Persian languages. The major part of the collection – about 3200 volumes or 80% of the total are copies of Arabic manuscripts, that represent all areas of Medieval Arabic science, mostly the Muslim Right and Grammar. The Ottoman Turkish codices number 470 units, the titles in Dogmatics, Muslim Mysticism (Sufism) holding the biggest share. Most of the Persian codices (about 137) are copies of the opera of the most famous Persian authors, commented in Turkish.

  • Central Library of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Special Collections

1095 Early Printed Editions (books and periodicals till 1876); 350 Microfilms of Slavonic and Greek manuscripts; 1677 microfilms of the Synai Collection (Greek, Arab, Syrian, Georgian, Slavonic manuscripts from S. Ekaterina Monastery of Sinai).

Scientific Archive of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Special Collection of Medieval and Early Modern Bulgarian Manuscripts: 116 Slavonic manuscripts.

  • Manuscripts and Rare Books Collections at the Ecclesiastical Historical and Archival Institute of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria

375 Slavonic manuscripts, 220 Greek and about 100 manuscripts in other languages, over 600 early printed books and a couple of thousands documents and photographs from the period of Revival and Bulgarian Hexarchy. The major part of the manuscripts of 10-14th cc. is written on parchment, the rest . on paper. Some of the codices are beautifully illuminated such as Gospels of Slepcha (15th c.), the three Gospels written by Ivan Kratovski (16th c.), and other gospel books of 16-17th cc.

  • Manuscripts and Rare Books Collection at the National Historical Museum

The collection contains more than 600 entries (out of them 90 manuscripts in various languages). The early printed books, rare editions kep and periodicals are the core of the collection. The Chronicle of Ioannes Scylitzes Synopsis of Histories (Σύνοψις Ἱστοριῶν) in a Greek copy of 13th c. is the most valuable Greek manuscript, kept in Bulgaria.


A direct and independent access to the following resources and collections:
  • Digital library of the manuscript of Zograph Monastery on Mount Athos
  • Manuscripts and rare books collections, kept in the Center for Slavic and Byzantine Studies “Prof. Ivan Dujčev”
  • University Library rare books and incunabula collections
  • Manuscripts and Rare Books Collections at the Ecclesiastical Historical and Archival Institute of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria
Other collections available in Sofia could also be used, including:
  • National Library Manuscript Collections
  • Central Library of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Special Collections and Scientific Arcive
  • Manuscripts and Rare Books Collection at the National Historical Museum
Help with obtaining access card to the libraries in Sofia:

1. A personal workstation with free internet access available throughout the period of stay in:

  • Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
  • Center for Slavic and Byzantine Studies “Prof. Ivan Dujčev”
  • Digital library of the manuscript of Zograph Monastery on Mount Athos
  • Ecclesiastical Historical and Archival Institute of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria

2. A one-day training course which includes reception of users and introduction to services and facilities, and assistance in the use of the resources and documents connected with the collections.

3. Constant assistance from specialists in the research field for which access has been requested, involving the introduction of users to the bibliography concerning the documents preserved in the archive and assistance and guidance in the use and interpretation of the data;


Dr. Maria Totomanova-Paneva

Sofiiski Universitet Sveti Kliment Ohridski Logo