The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria(1991) stipulates the commitment of the state to be responsible for the national cultural and historic heritage preservation. It stipulates that the natural and archaeological reserves defined by law are exclusively owned by the state and guarantees the natural and irrevocable right to access to cultural heritage without discriminative restrictions of any ethnic-cultural and religious nature. The legislative framework of the cultural and historic heritage sector was defined by two main pieces of legislation. The state cultural policy’s main principles are fixed in the Protection and Development of Culture Act (1999), which is a common legal Act for the entire field of culture.
The Cultural Heritage Act (2009), adopted by the Parliament in February 2009, replaced one of the most outdated operative regulations in the country: The Law of Cultural Monuments and Museums (1969). The Culture Heritage Act defines the main scope of cultural heritage and the main areas of its preservation and protection. The law introduced new categories of cultural heritage: “tangible and intangible, moveable and immoveable, as bearers of historic memory, national identity and which have a scientific or cultural value” (Art. 2). The scope of cultural heritage has been enlarged to include intangible heritage, industrial heritage, underwater heritage, audio-visual heritage, landscapes etc., specified in Art. 6. It defines cultural values and stipulates equality of access, decentralisation and transparency of management, and protection of cultural heritage (Art. 2 and 3). It also introduced the national system of protection and preservation of cultural heritage and the different levels of management.
In 2019, the law was amended and the documents certifying the existence of the requirements of the Cultural Heritage Act (2009) for museum activity by private museums were regulated. In addition, the deadline for obtaining permission from the Minister of Culture was reduced. The requirements for the coordination of conservation and management plans, development plans and specific rules and requests for intervention in protected areas for the protection of cultural heritage were also regulated. Requirements for the issue of permits for the production of replicas and replicas of cultural values of national or world importance have been also added, as well as requirements for the conservation and restoration of movable cultural values.