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5 most important Archaeological sites in Bulgaria that you should visit

Bulgaria is a land full of history and treasures. Let us take a tour among the most amazing and important archaeological sites in Bulgaria.

Photo © Svilen Enev. / source: wikimedia cc

Bulgaria- You are in luck, because you will enjoy a short tour of most important Archaeological sites in Bulgaria. These are the ones that have the biggest historical importance for Bulgarians and also they are very attractive to tourists as well. By no means, if you are really to visit one of these you will need local tourist guides to help you find them, but when you do i will be worth it!

Make sure you have your adventure gear, because here we go! 5 most important Archaeological sites in Bulgaria that you should visit:

Perperikon – the rock city and sanctuary of Dionysus:

Perperikon 10te.bg
Source: 10-te.bg

The ancient Tracian city of “Perperikon” is located on a 470m high rocky peak in the Eastern Rhodopes,15 km northeast of the town of Kardzhali. The village of Gorna Krepost (Upper Fortress) is situated at the foot of the hill and the gold-bearing Perperishka River flows near it. This archaeological medieval complex is one of the largest and oldest megalith ensemble on the Balkans.

The earliest human activity in Perperikon dates back to 5000 BC while the first traces of civilization on the hill date from the Bronze Age. The name Perperikon itself (originally Hyperperakion) dates from the Middle Ages. It is believed that the origin and meaning of the name is assosciated with gold and the gold-mining in the region.

The complex in Perperikon includes a Church (Cathedral) from 4th century AD., a D-shaped palace with 4 floors and 40 rooms, carved into the rocks and on an area of 10,000 square meters and a fortress. However, of particular interest is a large altar hewn straight out of the rock. The altar was used for practicing of fire rituals. Is is curious that some of these ancient rituals continue existing today

Ancient city of Herculaneum Sintica:

Heraclea_Sintica
Photo © Johny SYSEL / source: wikimedia cc

The remains of the ancient city of Herculaneum Sintica (also known under the names Cynthia Herculaneum Sintica or Herculaneum Strimonska) is located in southwestern Bulgaria near the village of Rupite, Petrich municipality. In ancient times the city was the center of the field Sintica inhabited by the Thracian tribe Sinti. The town vanished after a devastating earthquake in 388. The city was found in 2002 by Assoc. Prof. Georgi Mitrev after an accidental discovery of a large Latin inscription. Further excavations revealed a wide variety of unfinished, finished and glazed pieces and coins which indicates the presence of craft workshop. Another great success of archaeological summer 2016 is a Roman bed of a fountain with three lion heads found in the southern part of the ancient polis “Herculaneum Sintica”. It is believed that the fountain was situated on the square, outside of the Basilica at the end of the 3rd century AC. Besides the Roman marble fountain pan, archaeologists found a Roman tunnel with impressive proportions from 1700.

The tomb of Thracian king Seuthes III in Golyamata kosmatka mound:

arhaelogyinbulgaria.com
Source:archaeologyinbulgaria.com

The tomb of Thracian king Seuthes III is grave of King Seuthes III, located near the town of Kazanlak, in the Golyamata Kosmatka mound. It is part of the Valley of the Kings, which also includes the Kazanlak tomb and the tombs and temples found in the other mounds such as Arsenalka, Shoushmanets, Helvetia, griffins, saint and Ostrusha. The tomb of Seuthes III was built in the second half of 5th century BC. Inside were found the golden crown of the ruler, gold kylikes (wine glass), knee pads and a helmet, applications for horse trappings,etc., which are now presented in the local Historical Museum of Kazanlak.

One of the most important and amazing findings is a bronze head of , which is a bearded man with impressive eyes of semiprecious stones, ritually buried in front of the facade of the tomb. According to Dr. Kitov this undoubtedly is the head of Seuthes III, and its author is either the greatest sculptor of ancient Greece – atinyaninat Phidias, or one of his students.According to domestic and foreign researchers the bronze head of Seuthes III is unique. That is why it is the emblem of the Bulgarian exhibiton in the Louvre, France.

The tomb has an impressive facade, unusual 13-meter corridor, an entrance, circular chamber with a high dome and a rectangular chamber, built as sarcophagus of two monolithic stone blocks, one of which weighs over 60 tons. The three rooms are built with rectangular stone blocks and covered with slabs. Two-winged marble door closes entrance to the round chamber. The above fields wings are decorated with images of Dionysus, in the east it is a personification of the sun, and in the west – on the ground and night.

Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari:

culturaltours-bg.com
Source:culturaltours-bg.com

Historical and archaeological reserve “Sboryanovo” covers territory in the western part of Ludogorsko plateau along the Krapinetz river between the villages Small Porovets and Sveshtari. It is a unique complex consisting of settlements, shrines and cemeteries of antiquity. It was declared a Historical and archaeological reserve in 1988. Until today, there are 140 recorded archaeological sites from different historical periods. However, the most significant discovery in the territory of historical and archaeological reserve “Sboryanovo” is Thracian royal tomb in Sveshtari. It was found in 1982 during excavations at Mound №7 in the Eastern necropolis of Sboryanovo.This unique monument of the Thracian – Hellenistic art was built in the first quarter of 3rd century BC. and is an unique monument of the Thracian tomb architecture.The tomb is built of large limestone blocks. It consists of a dromos (corridor) and three square chambers covered by semicircular vaults. In the central chamber there are two stone beds with ornaments on them. The decoration of the tomb is in the spirit of Hellenistic culture through the concept and beliefs of the Getae (a Thracian tribe). The funeral ritual as well as the construction and the architectural ornaments prove that Thracian ruler was buried here. Unfinished decoration on the walls and ceiling showed that he died before he completed his eternal home. The ceiling of the chamber is supported by statues of women with raised hands – caryatids, whose faces and hair still preserve remnants of a colorful decoration. Ceiling depicts a scene of deification of the ruler.

The Roman Tomb in Silistra:

The late ancient tomb of Silistra
Source: trakia-tours.com

We can argue how important is the Roman Tomb in the small town of Silistra but it definitely deserves some close attention.

The Roman Tomb is situated in the central part of an ancient necropolis from 2nd -4thcentury AD, located just 500 meters from the camp of the Roman Legion.

Discovered in 1942 by coincidence, the interior of the monument with brick walls is covered with beautiful mural paintings in the fresco al secco technique. The walls depicts different scenes. On the west wall the bareheaded master of the tomb is portrayed, an aristocrat, most probably a high-ranking military officer, dressed in a long, ornamental purple tunic. Standing on the right is probably his wife, also wearing a tunic, with a pearl necklace and earrings and holding a flower. On the top,two peacocks are standing on either side of high vessel for water or wine. A beautiful pattern decorates the ceiling. Servants are depicted on the north and some ladies on the south wall. The most beautiful of all is a young woman carrying a boy. The decoration is typical for the period of the rule of Constantine the Great. However, some debates still occur. A part of Bulgarian archaeologists believe that is dates back to 380 AD, others much earlier.The tomb was never used and probably abandoned during one of the invasions of the Goths.

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