Prof. Ivan Galabov of the Burgas Museum of Archaeology during

                                         the underwater archaelogical exploration near Maslen Nos, 1960 (Photograph: RHM Burgas)

The founder of underwater archaeology donated books to Veliko Tarnovo’s university

1,343 books from Prof. Ivan Galabov’s personal library arrived from Salzburg, thanks to NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’

Text: Magdalena Gigova

Valuable books of scientific literature from Prof. Ivan Galabov’s personal collection were donated by his widow Aneta to Veliko Tarnovo’s Sts Cyril and Methodius University. In 1981, the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund accepted the generous gesture of 1,343 volumes. They arrived from the Austrian city of Salzburg, where Galabov had served as a full-time professor at the Institute of Slavic Philology since 1970.


On 14 January 1982, the books, valued at BGN 2,774, were handed over to the educational institution in accordance with the donor’s will.


Professor Ivan Petkov Galabov was born on 28 May 1918 in the town of Chirpan. He graduated from secondary school in Burgas and later in Slavic Philology from St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University. There he received excellent marks from the luminaries Acad. Stefan Mladenov, Prof. Stoyan Romanski, BAS cor. member Veselin Beshevliev, and Prof. Kiril Mirchev.


Owing to his outstanding achievements, he was sent to Germany to specialise in Indo-European Linguistics at the University of Heidelberg, and Sanskrit, Old Persian and Slavic Philology in Berlin, under the famous German linguists M. Fasmer, H. Günthert and G. Reichenkron. The future professor expanded his knowledge in the field of the major Indo-European languages, ancient history and archaeology.


In 1948, Galabov began working at the newly established Public Museum in Burgas, successor to the Museum of the Debelt Burgas Archaeological Society. In the city where he received his secondary education in the classical education class of the First All-male Secondary School, he began his multifaceted scientific and popularising work in the fields of archaeology and historical linguistics, according to Maxim Momchilov.


Attaining his academic rank in 1957, Galabov became a senior research associate at the General and Balkan Linguistics Department of the Institute of Bulgarian Language. Between 1963 and 1967, he was a part-time associate professor, professor and head of the Department of History of the Bulgarian Language at Veliko Tarnovo’s Sts Cyril and Methodius University. His good sentiments towards the educational institution date back to that time.


In 1967, Prof. Galabov left for Salzburg, Austria, where he was initially a visiting professor. In 1970, he won a competition for full-time professor, beating seven prominent European Slavists.


Shortly afterwards, he headed the Institute of Slavic Philology in Salzburg. When the Bulgarian government bought the Cultural Haus Wittgenstein in Vienna in 1975, Prof. Galabov became its first director. In this post, too, he showed exceptional qualities as a manager of science, establishing a scientific institute.


Prof. Galabov has left a scientific oeuvre that is significant in scope, diverse in content and extremely rich in ideas, which has yet to be evaluated and used in the fields of archaeology, Bulgarian and Slavic epigraphy, Bulgarian-Slavic and Indo-European linguistics and other areas.


Under his leadership, in August 1959, the first underwater archaeological expedition in Bulgaria was conducted near Cape Kaliakra, for which he is recognised as the founder of Bulgarian submarine archaeology.


The scientific books collected by him over the years are already part of the bibliographic stock of Veliko Tarnovo’s Sts Cyril and Methodius University, thanks to NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’.

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