After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman domination in 1878 the building of the modern Bulgarian state’s institutions began. Intellectuals consolidated as a highly professional social circle. The Cultural development during this period had its continuity from the Bulgarian Renaissance, when the bases of mundane Bulgarian culture were set. At the same time this was a qualitatively new stage in Bulgarian history, represented by the imposing (for such a small and lrecently detached from the Ottoman Empire country) building of state, political and cultural institutions. The building of state institutions began at the time of the Russian-Ottoman War in 1877-78 along with the establishment of the so-called Chancellery of Civil Affairs (a structure of the Russian Army). After the signing of the San Stefano Peace Treaty the Chancellery of Civil Affairs was replaced by a special Russian Imperial Commissariat, formed by seven departments, one of which was responsible for the people's enlightenment and spiritual doings. The Department for People's Enlightenment and Spiritual Doings existed until the end of June, 1879, when the Ministry of People's Enlightenment was established.
The Tyrnovo Constitution of 1879, which functioned till 1934, became the legal basis for the building of the new state. The Tyrnovo Constitution followed the best models of liberal legislation – in this case – the one of the Belgian Constitution. The Constitution served as a basis for the state participation, management and financing of culture. Simultaneously, national, municipal and charity initiatives were kept.
The Ministry of People's Enlightenment (MPE) became the backbone of state’s cultural politics. MPE prepared and carried out politics, practically including all spheres of cultural development. The first Law of People's Enlightenment was passed in 1891. It placed under the supervision of the MPE not only the educational affairs of the state, but also the development of cultural institutes.
The Law of Scientific and Literary Enterprises, which gave legal basis for subsidizing the search of ancient and archaeological monuments and archive documents, as well as for the documentation of folk heritage was developed in 1890 . The state started financing the publishing of the detailed “Collection of folklore, science and literature”. The sums granted by this law from the MPE were increased twice between the years 1889 and 1894. The granting of subventions for the Drama Theatrical Company in the capital also began in 1889 . In 1891 The National museum was separated from the National library in Sofia and an Archeographical Commission of MPE was found. These were the basic cultural institutions which shaped the face of Bulgarian culture during the period until the end of the century.
After 1989 an active process of Europeisation of the Bulgarian cultural policies began. On the basis of the political pluralism which won recognition and with the help of different forms of the sprouting civil society new subjects of cultural policies emerged – the private cultural institutes, the alternative and professional associations, the foundations, the religious societies, etc.
Alternative forms of financing for culture have also emerged – many projects are being subsidized by local and international foundations, by private sources, by municipal budgets, by international cultural communities. The Ministry of culture makes consecutive and persistent efforts for the decentralization of the state cultural policy.
During the years of transition the structure of the Ministry has been changed many times.
The Ministry is governed by a Minister with the help of two Deputy Ministers and a Chief Secretary; the Collegium of the Ministry is an Auxiliary Advisory Body of the Minister. In 2005 the Ministry of Culture was restructured and renamed as “Ministry of Culture and Tourism”.
With a Resolution of the National Assembly since 16th of August 2005 the Ministry is again restructured and renamed as “Ministry of Culture”.