ANCIENT MOSAICS SHINE AGAIN IN THE SMALL BASILICA, PLOVDIV

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The Small Basilica, Plovdiv The Small Basilica, Plovdiv © Anthony Georgieff

It lay forgotten for centuries, but on 20 September the Small Basilica in Plovdiv was again packed with visitors. They came to witness its transformation into the most advanced archaeology museum in Bulgaria.

Built in the 470s, the Small Basilica is the only fully preserved church of ancient Philippopolis. It's floor is covered with lavish mosaics of elaborate geometrical designs, early-Christian symbols and a sponsor's inscription. The church was destroyed by fire and abandoned in the end of the 6th Century.

It was discovered in 1988. In 1995, the quality of its mosaics granted it a Monument of Culture of National Significance status. However, because of lack of money and maintenance the site became a wasteland.

In 2010, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, together with the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and the Plovdiv Municipality, started a project to conserve and restore the mosaics of the Small Basilica and to turn the ruins of the church into an in situ archaeological museum. The cost of the project is 1.53 million leva.

Today, the mosaics are exhibited under latest generation of protective cover, with strict control of temperature and humidity.

Over 2,500 people visited the Small Basilica on its opening day, with the number doubling in the weekend.

For more on the past and the mosaics of the Small Basilica and Roman Plovdiv, visit www.romanplovdiv.org.

{gallery}Small Basilica opening{/gallery}

Read 5692 times Last modified on Monday, 23 September 2013 10:49

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