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Author: Miladin Apostolov



The Law for establishment of the Medical Faculty within the Sofia University was adopted on 10 November 1917. It was enforced by decree 21 issued by His Majesty King Ferdinand and registered in the government White Papers on 22 November 1917.

Educational Minister Peshev introduced the bill. He stated his reasons pointing out that —  "Undoubtedly, one of the state’s needs that should most urgently be set is the establishment of the Medical Faculty at our university … This, in the first place, is occasioned by our pride as a nation and, more importantly, by the dignity of our country looking out for better future. It is also a result of the necessity to lay the foundations of the Bulgarian scientific research in the field of medicine".

The first lecture in the MF was delivered on 10 April 1918. The Minister of Education and the members of the Superior Medical Council attended the official opening. Prof. G. Shishkov delivered the first lecture, which was in the field of zoology, while Prof. A. Christov gave the second lecture in the field of physics. Professor Ivan Kiprov was the first to be chosen as Dean of the Medical Faculty. The nomination of the first Bulgarian professors of Medicine — professor Vasil Mollov, professor Stoyan Kirkovich, professor Parashkev Stoyanov, professor Konstantin Pashev, and professor Atanas Teodorov promoted the MF as we know it today.

The first Faculty Board was established in 1917. The faculty library was launched in the same year and the regulations were set as to its organization and functions.

In 1925 Dr. Zmeyarov and Dr. Pophristov undertook the publishing of "Premedicus" student magazine, which was among the first in the world that was meant specifically for medical students. In this way the first specialized extracurricular courses were created.

In 1929 and in 1930 the Faculty conferred the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa to Dr. Muhlens and to Dr. Marin Rousev.

Later on scientific medical schools were created, headed by outstanding scientists with international reputation whose names are still held in high esteem by their students and the Bulgarian medical society. Among them were professor Metodi Popov (Biology Department), professor Vladimir Markov (Microbiology Department), professor Asen Hadjiolov (Department of Histology and Embriology), professor Vasil Mollov, professor Stoyan Kirkovich, and professor Vladimir Alexiev (Department of Internal Diseases), professor Konstantin Pashev (Department of Ophthalmology), professor Bogomil Beron (Department of Dermatology) and professor Stoyan Belinov (Department of Otolaryngology).

Some of the most prominent and authoritative scientists at the Medical Faculty have been appointed Chancellors of the State University "St. Kliment Ohridski" — Professor V. Mollov (1923-1924), professor V. Alexiev (1926-1927), professor S. Kirkovich (1930-1931), and professor A. Stanishev (1938-1939).

The Diplomas of the graduates (1933-1945) from the Medical Faculty and the passed exams were acknowledged and valid in all European countries.

The amendment of the education law in 1946 resulted in a rise to the number of the faculty departments, which became a total of 31.

In 1950 the Medical University was established as an institution separate from the State University "St. Kliment Ohridski". It was established as Medical Academy by decree 246 from 28 January 1950, and issued in the State Gazette. Professor M. Markov was appointed first Rector of Medical Academy.

In 1950 the Institute for Post-Graduate Studies and Qualification of medical doctors was founded.

In 1954 the Medical Academy turned into Higher Medical Institute (HMI) — the major medical school in Bulgaria.

The second reorganization of the institutes of medical sciences took place at the beginning of the1970s. The Medical Academy was reestablished again, hitherto incorporating the HMI of Sofia, the HMI of Plovdiv, the HMI of Varna, the HMI of Pleven and the HMI of Stara Zagora. This conglomerate institution was established by decree 921 of the State Council of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, issued on 30 April 1972. First and only President of Medical Academy became Professor A. Maleev.

By the end of 1985 there were as many as 4168 lecturers employed at the Academy, while the member of students exceeded 10 000.

By virtue of decree in 1990, MA was restored to its former status of Higher Medical Institute. The medical institutes that were in this structure turned into separate higher educational faculties — Medical, Stomatological, and Pharmaceutical.

New forms of education were introduced, taking into consideration the practices in the European countries — like module education and continuous education. Programs for exchange students and lecturers were introduced, much more in number and in different areas of the medical science. Thus, the Bulgarian students and their lecturers have the chance to be trained at the best Universities in Europe and America.

By virtue of decision from the Parliament taken on 21 May 1995, the Higher Medical Institute in Sofia was named Medical University, and its major faculty is the Faculty of Medicine.




Making use of historical methods and comparative analysis, as well as ample literature sources and documents, the authors reveal the development of medical education and teaching medical knowledge in schools throughout the Bulgarian territories from the 19th century until the present days.

The analysis begins with St. Clement of Ohrid (c. 835-916 AD), founder of the Bulgarian medieval university school in Lychnidon (nowadays Ohrid), who had more than 3500 students and taught them, among the other subjects, medicine (personal and public hygiene, hygiene of matrimonial relationships, rational nutrition, the art of healing, etc.), thus initiating the school of medicine in Bulgaria from the times of the early Middle Ages.

Then the authors focus their attention upon the comparatively late inauguration of the first Medical Faculty in Bulgaria from 1918. The Act of Parliament and the Decree were passed and published towards the end of 1917 and the Faculty was opened in April 1918. The motives behind its inauguration, the contributions and moves of its founders, as well as its overall development until the 1993 anniversary year have been discussed. The authors of the almanac have adopted and applied periods of their own as to the historic development of the first Higher Medical School in our country.

The Medical Faculty in Sofia has gone a long way from its autonomy within the framework of the St. Cement of Ohrid University (1918-1950), through its own development (1950-1976), and within restricted, even quashed, autonomy during the totalitarian regime (1976-1990). From 1990 onwards the restoration of its autonomy within the framework and structure of the Medical Academy and later on as the Higher Medical Institute has been debated in the reflection of the post-totalitarian period.

The contribution of such outstanding organizers of Medical Care and active members of the Bulgarian Medical Union as Dr Stefan Vatev (1866-1946) and Dr Marin Rousev (1864-1935) has been pointed out. The contributions and efforts of the first medical researchers, who had given hand in establishing the name of the new faculty and initiated the first research and education schools in modern Bulgarian medical science have been pointed out — M. Popov (Biology), V. Markoff (Microbiology), A. Hadjiolov (Histology and Embriology), D. Orakhovats (Physiology), S. Kirkovitch, V. Alexiev, V. Molov and C. Chilov (Internal Diseases), P. Stoyanov and A. Stanishev (Surgery), B. Beron (Dermatology and Venerology), A. Theodorov (Forensic Medicine), D. Stamatov (Obstetrics and Gynecology), P. Nicholov (Pharmacology), S. Vatev (Pediatrics), N. Krustnickov, N. Boev, and A. Pentchev (Psychiatry), C. Pashev (Ophtalmology), A. Sahatchiev (Radiology), T. Petrov (Hygiene), A. Zlatarov (Chemistry and Biochemistry), D. Kadanov (Anatomy), S. Belinov (Otorhinolaryngology), etc.

Fundamental and applied research workers such as L. Popov (Dermatology and Venerology), A. Klisourov (Pathology), N. Dabovsky (Pediatrics), I. Moskov (Forensic Medicine), L. Tsvetkov (Hygiene), V. Tomov, and G. Capitanov (Surgery), B. Boytchev (Orthopaedy and Traumatology), V. Tsontchev (Internal Diseases) and many others had devoted all their efforts to the Medical Faculty as researchers and teachers before and after World War II.

There is a comprehensive list of all Faculty Deans of the Sofia Medical Faculty from beginning until the present days, starting with the first Dean of the Faculty — Prof. Ivan Kiprov, M.D.

The evolution of the educational curricula is being followed up as it went increasingly closer and closer to the needs and issues involved in the practical medical care and prevention. During recent years the curriculum is being amended to match the curricula of the developed European countries, and the curricula and syllabuses of the most authoritative medical schools and faculties around the world.

There is also a true to life, objective presentation of the German, Russian and Soviet influence and their impact upon the development of the Sofia Medical Faculty in its various stages, the visits and contribution of the German and Russian research workers, as well as the large scale positive impact of the Russian émigré professors within the 1918-1925 period and later on upon the initial stages and further strengthening and growth of the Medical Faculty of Sofia.

The history of the engineering and technical facilities and the hospital basis of Medical Faculty is being studied and presented in some details. Special attention has been given to the adaptation of the Alexander’s Hospital as teaching facility and clinical basis of the Medical Faculty, its consecutive development and growth.

The authors have especially emphasized the research achievements of the professors and lecturers, the contributions made by their research and development work, of the numerous national and international instances of scientific recognition of Bulgarian medical researchers. The beneficial influence of some leading European medical research schools and most of all those of the German, British, Russian, Austrian, French and Italian schools of research and their prominent medical investigators has been pointed out.

The problems of the medical student community is also discussed — the first printed newsletter ("Praemedicus"), the first Students Union, the Memorandum of the students in defense of their not-yet well established Faculty, the organization of providing them with boarding and overnight facilities, grants and scholarships and their growth in the recent years, the initiation of students’ research workshops, etc. have been thoroughly discussed.

The authors have elaborately treated the already abandoned negative tendencies in teaching Medicine, mostly connected with the 1976-1990 cult period, such as — 1) the practice of building up increasingly larger numbers of higher medical institutes (Faculties, Institutes and Higher Schools); 2) paying attention mostly to quantitative criteria, rather than quality standards for the education of the medical students; 3) the disproportionally large development of brainwashing and communist ideology included in the medical education curriculum; 4) the anonymity of teaching and lecturing, etc.

To the positive developments and successes of the Faculty in recent years the authors have referred the provision of Bulgarian textbooks and audio-visual aids for all the disciplines taught, also the comparative saturation with audio-visual devices and materials, initiation of museum collections, etc.

The authors have expressed their hopes that within the climate of the overall reform, which is being carried out in the field of Medicine, Medical Care and Health Service Organization in Bulgaria, including the medical education, the Faculty is going to enhance the level of education, research and development, hospital practice and method-developing practices to an even higher level of proficiency and perfection.



Addendum I: Comprehensive List of Departments and Clinical Centres as part of Medical Faculty, Sofia (1993).

Department of General Biology

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Department of Physics and Biophysics

Department of Anatomy and Histology

Department of Physiology

Department of Public Health and Social Medicine

Department of Foreign Languages

Department of Microbiology

Department of Medical Genetics

Department of Pathologic Anatomy and Cytopathology

Department of Pathological Physiology

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Department of Propaedeutics of Internal Medicine

Department of Internal Diseases

Department of Surgery

Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology

Department of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation

Department of Radiology

Department of Clinical Pharmacology

Department of Obstetrics and Genaеcology

Department of Pediatric Diseases

Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

Department of Ophthalmology

Department of Neurology

Department of Psychiatry

Department of Dermatology and Vеnerology

Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Department of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, and Parasitology

Department of Hygiene, Ecology, and Occupational Hazards

Department of Forensic Medicine and Deontology


Clinical Centre for Pulmonary Diseases

Clinical Centre of Nephrology

Clinical Centre of Endocrinology and Gerontology

Clinical Centre of Alеrgology

Clinical Centre of Pediatric Surgery

Clinical Centre of Urology

Clinical Centre for Gastroenterology

Clinical Centre for Emergency Medicine

Clinical Centre for Haemodialysis

Clinical Centre for Clinical Laboratory

Clinical Centre for Oncology

Clinical Centre for Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Treatment

Clinical Centre of Neurosurgery




















Addendum II: Comprehensive List of Medical Faculty Deans with Terms in Office.

1918-1919: Prof. I. Kiprov

1919-1920: Prof. I. Kiprov /2nd term/

1920-1921: Prof. T. Petrov

1921-1922: Prof. V. Alexiev

1922-1923: Prof. V. Mollov

1923-1924: Prof. K. Pashev

1924-1925: Prof. T. Petrov /2nd term/

1925-1926: Prof. A. Teodorov

1926-1927: Prof. B. Beron

1927-1928: Prof. S. Vatev

1928-1929: Prof. A. Sahatchiev

1929-1930: Prof. S. Kirkovich

1930-1931: Prof. A. Stanishev

1931-1932: Prof. D. Stamatov

1932-1933: Prof. D. Orachovatz

1933-1934: Prof. D. Orachovatz /2nd term/

1934-1935: Prof. S. Belinov

1935-1936: Prof. A. Sahatchiev /2nd term/

1936-1937: Prof. V. Mollov /2nd term/

1937-1938: Prof. A. Stanishev /2nd term/

1938-1939: Prof. A. Sahatchiev /3rd term/

1939-1940: Prof. D. Orachovatz /3rd term/

1940-1941: Prof. D. Orachovatz /4th term/

1941-1942: Prof. M. Popov

1942-1943: Prof. A. Klisurov

1943-1944: Prof. D. Orachovatz /5th term/

1944-1945: Prof. D. Orachovatz /6th term/























1945-1946: Prof. I. Ivanov

1946-1947: Prof. L. Popov

1947-1948: Prof. M. Markov

1948-1949: Prof. M. Markov /2nd term/

1949-1950: Prof. M. Markov /3rd term/

1950-1951: Prof. M. Markov /4th term/

1951-1952: Prof. G. Uzunov

1952-1953: Prof. G. Uzunov /2nd term/

1953-1954: Prof. B. Slavkov

1954-1955: Prof. B. Slavkov /2nd term/

1955-1956: Prof. B. Slavkov /3rd term/

1956-1957: Prof. G. Yankov

1957-1958: Prof. G. Yankov /2nd term/

1958-1959: Prof. G. Yankov /3rd term/

1959-1960: Prof. G. Yankov /4th term/

1960-1961: Prof. R. Radanov

1961-1962: Prof. R. Radanov /2nd term/

1962-1963: Prof. G. Mihaylov

1963-1964: Prof. G. Mihaylov /2nd term/

1964-1965: Prof. L. Tomov

1965-1966: Prof. L. Tomov /2nd term/

1966-1967: Prof. L. Tomov /3rd term/

1967-1968: Prof. L. Tomov /4th term/

1968-1969: Prof. N. Popov

1969-1970: Prof. N. Popov /2nd term/

1970-1971: Prof. S. Bojinov

1971-1972: Prof. G. Holevich

1972-1973: Prof. G. Holevich /2nd term/

1973-1974: Prof. I. Ushev

1974-1975: Prof. I. Ushev /2nd term/

1975-1976: Prof. I. Ushev /3rd term/

1976-1977: Prof. N. Uzunov

1977-1978: Prof. N. Uzunov /2nd term/

1978-1979: Prof. M. Zlateva

1979-1980: Prof. M. Zlateva /2nd term/

1980-1981: Prof. M. Zlateva /3rd term/

1981-1982: Prof. M. Zlateva /4th term/

1982-1983: Prof. M. Zlateva /5th term/

1983-1984: Prof. E. Stoyanov

1984-1985: Prof. E. Stoyanov /2nd term/

1985-1986: Prof. E. Stoyanov /3rd term/

1986-1987: Prof. E. Stoyanov /4th term/

1987-1988: Prof. T. Vodenicharov /vice-Dean/

1988-1989: Prof. T. Vodenicharov /vice-Dean/

1989-1990: Prof. T. Vodenicharov /vice-Dean/

1990-1991: Prof. A. Georgiev

1991-1992: Prof. A. Georgiev /2nd term/

1992-1993: Prof. I. Smilov




Copyright © 2009 by the author.