BULGARIA - Thracian treasures
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Mask of a Thracian KingGolden Mask of a Thracian king

Archeologists have discovered a 2,400-year-old golden mask that was likely made for a Thracian monarch's funeral. The mask depicts a full face with moustache and beard. The rare artifact is made of 600 grams of solid gold and "is without paragon in archeology," according to Georgi Kitov and his team that unearthed the find in the summer of 2004 near the village of Shipka, in the so-called Valley of Thracian Kings. The mask may belong to King Seutus III, the Thracian  king who ruled in the fifth century BC. Besides the mask, archeologists also found a golden ring showing a rower, and many bronze and silver vessels. No remains have been found but archeologists continue to excavate the tomb ......  Full article on  Motoroads.com

On August 19, 2004 Georgi Kitov (b. 1944) , a Bulgarian archaeologist and thracologist, discovered a gold mask in a 5th century BC burial mound outside the town of Shipka in a place he later named Golyamata Kosmatka. On September 21 he began an excavation of the mound with 12 others, including private security guards, and soon unearthed a large bronze head. Three days later he found the entrance of a tomb  ... Full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Kitov

  Panagyurishte   Treasure

The Panagyurishte Treasure (Bulgarian: Панагюрско златно съкровище) is a Thracian treasure excavated on December 8, 1949 by three brothers, Pavel, Petko and Michail Deikovs who worked together at the region of “Merul” tile factory near the town of Panagyurishte, Bulgaria. It consists of a phiale, an amphora and seven rhytons with total weight of 6.164 kg of 23-karat gold. All of the objects are richly and skilfully decorated with scenes of Thracian myths, customs and life. It is dated from the 4th-3rd centuries BC, and is thought to have been used as a royal ceremonial set by the Thracian king Seuthes III. As one of the best known surviving artifacts of Thracian culture, the treasure has been displayed at various museums around the world. When not on a tour, the treasure is the centerpiece of the Thracian art collection of the Plovdiv Archaeological Museum.

The items may have been buried to hide them during 4th century BC invasions of the area by the Celts orMacedonians. The phiale is very similar to one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and carries inscriptions giving its weight in Greek drachmae and Persian darics. It may have been made in Athens,[1] though the better success with the animal figures than the human ones may suggest goldsmiths with a Hellenistic training working in Thracia.

         Source: Wikipedia (български)   
         See also
Wikipedia - Thracian treasure     

Panagyurishte Treasure (4th - 3rd century BC )   ››




Rogozen treasure

Rogozen Treasure

The Rogozen treasure, called the find of the century, was also discovered by chance. In this case the finder was a tractor driver, who in the autumn of 1985 was digging a trench in his garden when he discovered a collection of sixty-five silver receptacles. On January 6, 1986, in a second trench near the first one, a hundred more receptacles were found by the archaeologists of the local museum. The treasure consists of hundred and eight phials, fifty-four jugs and three goblets. All the objects are silver and some with a golden gilt. Their total weight is twenty kilograms.
Rogozen treasureThe ornamentation, embossed in relief, is different in every case. This variety of motifs and decorative elements makes the Rogozen Treasure an invaluable source of information for the fifth and fourth centuries, BC. Several of these pieces seem to had been imported, but most were made in Thracia  ...   Full article on Motoroads.com    



Vulchitrun Treasure

The treasure was discovered by accident on 18 December 1924 by two brothers who were deep-ploughing their field four kilometers from the village of Vulchitrun, Pleven district. The ploughmen stumbled across 13 gold objects at a depth of about 40-cm. It consists of 13 vessels - a large, deep vessel with two handles, one big and three small cups with one handle each, two big and five smaller discs. All items are made of solid gold, the total weight is 12.425 kg. The vessels were used in cult ceremonies. This treasure is the most remarkable example of the art of the Later Bronze Age in Thracia (XIII-XII c. BC)  ...   Full article on Motoroads.com

The Valchitran Treasure (Bulgarian: Вълчитрънско златно съкровище) was discovered in 1924 by two brothers who were working in their vineyard near the village of Valchitran, 22 km southeast of Pleven, Bulgaria. The hoard consists of 13 receptacles, different in form and size, and weighs in total 12,5 kg  ... FULL article here: Wikipedia


Varna necropolis

Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis

The Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis which experts qualify as
"the world's oldest gold" and  a trace of "Europe's most ancient civilization" was a sensational discovery. It is situated about 500m to the north of Lake Varna and about 4 km to the west of the downtown. In 294 graves were discovered more than 3000 golden objects dating back 6000 years. In Hall 6 of Varna Museum of History is exhibited the whole inventory from some of the most significant graves. On both sides of the entrance are represented the graves with masks of human faces shaped out on spot and appliquéd with gold plates. The rich variety of funeral utensils going along with the dead is best illustrated by two of the symbolic graves / No 4 and No 36/. In grave No 4 have been found two unique vessels where the typical for the time decoration of strongly stylized geometrical symbols is fulfilled in golden paint ...
Source: Motoroads.com

More information on Wikipedia, The free Encyclopedia

Borovo treasure
Borovo Treasure

At the end of December 1974 another treasure, dated from the first half of the fourth century BC, came to light at Borovo. It consists of luxurious five-vessel drinking set. Three of them are rhytons ending in the protomes of a horse, a bull, and a sphinx. The fourth is a large two-handled bowl in the center of which a deer attacked by a griffin is depicted in relief. The fifth is a richly ornamented silver jugglet, with two bands in relief depicting scenes connected with the cult of Dionysus. On the upper frieze the god is tearing animals to pieces, and chasing satyrs or being chased by them. We can see Dionysus with Ariadne, standing out in a poetic dream. On the lower part the god marries Ariadne, who unbinds her belt The treasure bears an inscription in Greek letters with the name of the Thracian King Kotys I who reigned the Odryssaean Kingdom from 383 to 359 BC and that of the craftsman Etbeos.

Loukuvit treasure

Loukovit TreasureLoukovit treasure

The treasure of Loukovit must have been buried in the period of the Macedonian rule in Thrace, perhaps during the reign of Alexander the Great, when he was crossing the lands of the Tribally.  It was dated to the second half of the fourth century BC. The treasure consists of three small pitchers, nine phials and a large number of silver appliqués, decorated with animal motifs and figures of horsemen. On two of them a lion with gilded mane attacks a stag whose legs are folded under the body. The artifacts are the work of different craftsmen which shows that it was brought together gradually and also proves the rich artistic life in the northern Thracian lands in the fourth century BC.

       Vratsa Treasure from Mogilanska Mound

The treasure of Vratsa from the Mogilanska mound comprised three tombs which were yielded , during 1965-66 excavations in the heart of the city. Two were plundered back in antiquity, and the third contained a funeral of a man and a woman, one of the richest to be discovered in Thrace. There are several striking Vratsa treasure artifacts among the multitude of gold and silver objects intended to serve the deceased in the next life. A silver cone-shaped pitcher suggests that the dead were initiated into the Dionysian cult, since the cone was a symbol of Dionysus. The gold laurel wreath and earrings show remarkable sophistication and craftsmanship. The Vratsa treasure gold pitcher is interesting with its handle fashioned like a Herculean knot which is right over the plume-ornamented bodies of the two chariots drawn by four horses each. Since the chariot is always a symbol of the sun god, many scholars believe that the chariot driver is Apollo - the principle god of the Tribally. Here a unique knee-piece with a female head figure was found. Knee-pieces were part of ancient warriors' protective armor and were intended to protect legs. A perfectly symmetrical, framed by an intricate coiffure and crowned with a gilded ivy wreath human face covers the kneecap. There are bird-shaped earrings, with two serpents outlining the face in the background. In the lower part, their bodies blend into those of roaring lions, whose heads lock right under the chin. Another two serpents on the knee-piece have promotes that blend into griffin lions.


                Letnitsa Treasure

Letnitsa treasureLetnitsa treasure dates back to 400 - 350 BC. It was found in a bronze vessel and like many treasures was an accidental discovery. It consists of a bit, a headstall and small pierced silver plaques, part of harness. Each appliqués has a ring on its back, through which the strap fastening is passed. 

Letnitsa treasure

What is new about this treasure are the twenty-four square or rectangular scenes of mythology or of everyday life. For the first time in these appliqués a human figure is used for a horse trappings adornment. According to the depicted subject the appliqués may be divided into two groups: appliqués representing a fight between animals and others with mythological scenes.

Full article on Motoroads.com


The Kosmatka Tharcian tombThe  Kosmatka Tomb, Kazanlak  

In the summer of 2004 a team of Bulgarian archeologists unearthed a large, intact Thracian mausoleum dating back from the fifth century BC near the central Bulgarian town of Shipka. "This is probably the richest tomb of a Thracian king ever discovered in Bulgaria. Its style and its making are entirely new to us as experts," said Georgy Kitov, the head of the team. "This unique find will broaden our knowledge of the masterful goldsmith skills of the Thracians", he told AFP. According to Kitov, the mausoleum "features an incredible architecture and is laden with golden, silver, bronze and earthenware objects." The tomb probably dates back from the times of the dynasty founded by Seutus III and includes a 13-meter (40-foot) corridor leading to three rooms, one of them a huge granite block hollowed out to form a death chamber, its floor strewn with more than 70 gold, silver, bronze and clay objects. Inside one of the rooms the team found a golden crown of oak leaves and acorns, the first such object found in a Thracian temple. Also found were a complete bronze body armor adorned with goddesses, a sword with a gold-studded pommel, crafted ceramics and three big wine amphoras. The tomb is equipped with a marble door on the second chamber decorated  with a female head and the God Apollo. Full article on Motoroads.com

The Big Arsenalka tomb
The big Arsenalka Tomb, Kazanlak

The Kazanluk Tomb in south Bulgaria is famous for its beautiful wall paintings of the early 3rd century BC, one of the most unique masterpieces of Early Hellenistic pictorial art. Despite the small surface containing the decorative friezes, the unknown artist has created an exceptional work of art. This tomb was built during the reign of king Seuthes III, either for him personally or for close relatives among the nobility.


The facade of a tomb  5th - 4th sentury BC.
Mogila Goliama Arsenalka near Sheinovo, Kazanlak.


Sveshtari tomb

Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari  - 
UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari (Bulgarian: 'Свещарската гробница') is situated 2,5 km southwest of the village of Sveshtari, Razgrad Province, which is located 42 km northeast of Razgrad, in the northeast of Bulgaria. Discovered in 1982 in a mound, this 3rd century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb's architectural decor is considered to be unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The ten female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decorations of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getae, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers ...  Source Wikipedia

Helvetsia tomb

Helvetia Tomb, Shipka

On July 29, 1996 a Thracian tomb of the 4th century BC was uncovered near the town of Shipka, in the south foothills of the Balkan Range. Large regular stones were used to build the tomb, situated five meters underground. The metal part of a Roman soldier's shoe found at the site indicates that the tomb may have been plundered as early as in Roman times. The Shipka Tombs are seven in total on an area of Central Bulgaria considered to have been the Valley of the Thracian Kings.

Thracian temple - dromos and facade

Bronze sityla - Small Sipka tomb Satyr on a bronze situla 4th century BC.
Small Shipka tomb, Kazanlak region.
Museum of History, Kazanlak.
Starosel tomb

Starossel Tomb

Teams of Bulgarian archeologists have made phenomenal discoveries in the summer of year 2000. One of the major discoveries was the grave of what is believed to be a Thracian ruler. The site, at the village of Starossel near Plovdiv in southern Bulgaria, has been dated from the forth or fifth century BC. The two-chamber grave is approached by monumental stairs and a corridor. It is surrounded by a wall made out of some 4 000 stone blocks and was hidden under a 20-meter high mound of earth. Within, archeologists found a magnificent trove of relics, including a large gold funerary wreath, other gold jewelry, bronze shields, helmets and swords, and two sets of silver decorations for horses. The grave and its surroundings are also thought to have been an important religious site for Thracians.  

Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is a vaulted brickwork "beehive" (tholos) tomb near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria. The tomb is part of a large Thracian necropolis. It comprises a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The monument dates back to the 4th century BC and has been on the UNESCO protected World Heritage Site list since 1979. The murals are memorable for the splendid horses and especially for the gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other's wrists in a moment of tenderness and equality. The paintings are Bulgaria's best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period. The tomb is situated near the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis.                  
Source:  Wikipedia , the free encyclopedia 

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Perperikon - ancient Thracian Temple

Legend and History

Orpheus, one of the best loved ancient heroes, was born in Thrace. The ancient Greeks believed that he was the son of the river god Oeagrus and Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry.

A magnificent poet and singer, Orpheus rivalled even the god of poetry and music Apollo. His heavenly voice cast a spell on everything, animate and inanimate, and having joined the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece, he helped them escape the Sirens by singing so sweetly that he drowned out their perilous song. He was often portrayed playing the lyre, which Apollo gave him, and his music enchanted the trees and rocks and tamed wild beasts, and even the rivers turned in their course to follow him.
 FULL article here:  www.perperikon.bg

General Info and Road Map

Perperikon (or Hyperperakion or Perperakion) is in the Eastern Rhodope range, some 10 miles from the town of Kurdzhali. The roads from Sofia, via Asenovgrad or Haskovo, are fairly good and well maintained. Perperikon is perched on a rocky peak at 1,400 ft above sea level guarded at its foot by the village of Gorna Krepost [high castle]. The gold-bearing river Perpereshka flows nearby forming a valley some 7 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. This fertile sheltered place had attracted settlers in very ancient times, and today, dozens of sites clustered around the natural hub of Perperikon reveal layer upon layer of archaeological remains. Just a little further downstream, the Perpereshka flows into the artificial lake of Stouden Kladenets on the river Arda. Where the two bodies of water meet, is the village of Kaloyantsi, a scenic place with some tourist facilities.
FULL article here:  www.perperikon.bg

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  Sources:   Motoroads.com , Perperikon.bg   and   Wikipedia - Thracian treasure
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Emil Manchev

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