Archaeology Bulgaria

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MYSTERIES OF MEZEK TOMB

However, apart from the destruction that it continues to bring, there are a few occasions where this illegal activity has led to extremely interesting discoveries. The Thracian tomb discovered near the Mezek village, in the region of modern Svilengrad, is one such story.

The mound that hides the tomb is a spectacular sight, at 14m high and about 90m wide. Its name, Mal Tepe, or Gold Hill, indicates that its secrets had long gripped the imagination of the locals.

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 12:04
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BULGARIA'S ONLY OBELISK

North-central Bulgaria is not famed for its historical landmarks. It is a region of rolling hills and soft valleys, of small forests and depressed villages and towns where, even on the brightest days, grey is the predominant colour. It is as if generations of people had concluded that the landscape was good enough for farming, but not inspiring enough for the creation of something remarkable – a city, a temple, a legend.

As with most appearances, this one is not true. Indeed, this region is the home of one of Bulgaria's most curious ancient monuments: an obelisk.

Wed, 12/23/2015 - 11:15
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STONED RHODOPE

Traditional architecture and music, great food, and mystic landscapes: the Rhodope, the mountain range that covers a significant part of the south of Bulgaria, is cherished by nature lovers for many a reason. Its strange rock formations are one of them.

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 12:51
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POMORIE TOMB: AN ANCIENT MYSTERY BY THE SEA

Pomorie, a seaside town about 20 kilometres north of Burgas, has now become a concrete labyrinth of high-rise hotels and apartment blocks thronged with Russian tourists and holiday-home owners. It does not sound particularly appealing – but that's only on the surface.

Amidst the dust, sun and crowds of Pomorie, there is a place of eternal silence and an unexplained mystery. To find it, you have to take a sign-posted lane off the congested Burgas-Nesebar road. This lane leads to a lush vineyard and there, hidden inside the cold embrace of a huge mound, is a tomb.

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 11:36
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WHO WERE THE THRACIANS?

These people were the Thracians.

Today their name is barely known to anyone outside southeastern Europe. The Thracians built for eternity – especially tombs and shrines – but they lived in the moment and, underestimating the importance of writing down their deeds, they left next to nothing about their history, faith and beliefs. And so, bar the fascinating sites and treasures they created, the life of the Thracians remains more or less a mystery.

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 12:44
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DEULTUM: ROMAN TOWN ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF BURGAS

The bay on whose shore the city stands today was deeper and surrounded by malaria infested swamps.

Living conditions were at least inhospitable. A few people had made their home there from prehistoric to medieval times, in settlements and fortresses away from the coast, moving location as the coastline itself changed. The continuity of usage of the mineral springs in today's Vetren and Banevo neighbourhoods of Burgas is amazing. The healing waters were prized by the ancient Thracians and Romans, by Bulgarian kings, Byzantine emperors and Ottoman sultans.

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 13:59
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PERPERIKON: MAGICAL RHODOPE SITE

The priestess raised the gold bowl and the strong, dark Thracian wine in it reflected the light of the fire burning on the altar. There was only her and the nervous Roman officer standing in the oval-shaped roofless inner sanctum of the shrine of Dionysus, yet the place seemed filled with an invisible presence.

The officer swallowed his fear and moved closer to the priestess. Dionysus was about to reveal the future of his son, Octavianus.

The priestess closed her eyes and poured the wine over the fire.

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:56
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KARANOVO

If you have ever been to Troy, in present-day Turkey, you were probably a bit disappointed or even felt slightly cheated. The unremarkable ditches your tour guide dragged you through had little in common with the glorious pictures of passion, war and tragedy embedded in the popular imagination by Homer and the Brad Pitt movie. If you listened to your guide, however, you might have gathered that the settlement that is now portrayed to tourists as the Homeric Troy is important to historians for another reason.

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 11:30
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VILLA ARMIRA

Vineyards and ghost villages deserted by those who left because of wars, strict border controls and economic hardship, plus a medieval fortress tucked into the easternmost slopes of the Rhodope: there is not that much to see in and around Ivaylovgrad. Greece, which is just across the border, is even less impressive; a patchwork of fields and tiny villages.

Wed, 07/03/2013 - 12:15
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OESCUS, NEAR GIGEN

The second bridge over the Danube, between Bulgaria's Vidin and Romania's Calafat, is a project which took decades to be conceived and years to be built. Funnily enough, some kilometres downstream there is proof that spanning the Danube with a bridge was not all that difficult.

Fri, 06/07/2013 - 13:03
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BULGARIA'S CLOCK TOWERS

The first clock tower in Bulgaria is probably the one built at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th Century in Plovdiv. At that time, clock towers were common in Europe, but were a novelty in the Ottoman Empire. The convenience of knowing the time was soon appreciated by merchants and craftsmen, and the clock tower fashion spread all over the country. Their number peaked in the 19th Century, and in Bulgaria there was hardly a city without its own clock tower.

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 12:25
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GOOD CAPE

Wherever you reach some higher ground in Bulgaria there will be a legend about it. And in 90 percent of the cases it will be about some brave Bulgarian maidens who jumped off it to avoid being "enslaved" by Turks.

Kaliakra is no exception.

Thu, 08/23/2012 - 13:24
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POLSKI TRAMBESH

Hundreds of people pass through Polski Trambesh every day. The little town has a population of less than 5,000 and is situated on the highway connecting Ruse, the Danube and Romania with the interior of Bulgaria. The name Polski Trambesh, however, is known to few except locals.

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 14:56
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THE RED CHURCH

Leaving aside St Sofia in the capital and what has remained of the metropolitan church in Nesebar, traces from the early Byzantine era in Bulgaria are scarce and little known. They do exist, however: forgotten remnants of the time when the Eastern Roman Empire was trying to hold back the invasions of the Barbarians in the Balkans. Most are nothing more than low crumbling walls, almost invisible in the undergrowth and interesting only to archaeologists. Others, however, despite time, neglect and the depredations of those seeking second-hand building materials still pose a striking sight.

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 11:32
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ALEKSANDROVO TOMB

The archaeologists who were finishing off the excavation of two small Thracian burial mounds on the spot where the future Trakiya Motorway would bypass the village of Aleksandrovo, near Haskovo, felt that day was different from the very beginning. 17 December 2000 was the last day of the excavations and brought the first bright sun after a long and depressing series of mists so thick that visibility was often less than 10 metres.

Wed, 05/09/2012 - 14:01
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NIKOPOLIS AD ISTRUM

In 106 AD, Emperor Trajan (98-117) was returning from his victorious campaign against the Dacians in what is today Romania. These bellicose tribes had finally been conquered and tamed. Their capital Sarmizegetusa was put under sword and fire, and the defeated King Decebalus (87-106) had killed himself to avoid capture. Trajan had finished what his predecessors ‒ and he himself, in an earlier campaign in 101-102 ‒ had failed to achieve.

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 15:48
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