Grigoriy Naydenov (1854-1919) is among the historical figures in Vratsa, honored with the conversion of their birthplace into the complex of Sofroniy Vrachanski. Naydenov was one of the most generous benefactors not only on a local but also on a national scale.
Born into a prominent merchant family from Vratsa, he is a staunch patriot. Days before the start of the Russian-Turkish War of 1878, Naydenov crossed the Danube and enlisted in the newly formed Bulgarian military in Ploiesti, Romania, under the personal command of the prominent General Stoletov. Naydenov financed the purchase of horses for the Bulgarian cavalrymen, which laid the foundations of the horse hundred in the composition of the Bulgarian military.
Guided by the maxim that "wealth is perishable and virtue is immortal", on January 10, 1919, in "full consciousness and full health", Grigoriy Naydenov bequeathed funds from his multi-million fortune to the Holy Synod, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. , the Charity Home for Orphans in Sofia and the Home for Orphans in Vratsa, the Choir Fund at the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Temple, the Church of St. Nicholas", the other three churches in Vratsa and the Cherepishki Monastery. The last, ninth clause in Naydenov's will reads: "I bequeath all my remaining property to my hometown for the cultural and economic prosperity of its population." He also started a scholarship fund for students.
Perhaps as a sign of his love for the children of Vratsa, his house was chosen as the home of a unique museum collection on a national scale called "The World of the Child of the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries".
The collection is divided into two parts, with the upper floor dedicated to the life of the city child and the lower floor to the life of the country child of that era. Children's clothes, toys and household items are on display. For a moment, you are transported to the world of children who grew up in those times, and you want to sit at that old wooden desk and flip through the yellow pages of those first picture books, a privilege only for children from rich families. You might imagine those neatly dressed children running ahead of their parents on their Sunday walk. But once you are down in the cellar for the other part of the collection, you shudder at the contrast with the life of the country children.
The most fascinating exhibits are an authentic early 20th century baby carriage, a wooden basket, a patterned toy horse, several rag dolls with gourds, squeakers and the village children's games with knuckles, cobs and whatever they could get their hands on. For the first time, you will also see primitive wooden walkers.
The museum collection is certainly not to be missed, especially if you are visiting Vratsa with children!