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Thracian tombs






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DeutschOnce upon a time the Thracians inhabited Bulgarian lands. Thracian rulers and members of the nobility were buried in monumental stone tombs, which also served as places for ritual ceremonies to honor the deceased ruler, with offerings of rich funeral gifts. The tombs constituted underground temples of heroes, and have thus become known as heroons.  Approximately fifty such tombs have been discovered in Thracian mounds in Bulgaria up to the present time.

The  Kosmatka Tomb, Kazanlak

The Kosmatka Tharcian tombIn 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.

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

Sveshtari tombIt is situated 2,5 km south-west of Sveshtari (a village 42 km north-east of Razgrad). Uncovered during excavations of a sepulchral mound. Dating back, in approximation, to the first half of the 3rd century BC. The central camera of the vault is rich in decoration - it is designed as a facade of a temple with the image of a horseman, being bestowed with a golden wreath by a goddess, and a religious procession; on three of the walls - a high relief with 10 stone statues of clad women figures. The funeral rites, the building technique, the architectural design and the decoration, distinguished for Hellenistic models, provide evidence that a Thracian ruler has been buried there.

  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.





    Starossel Tomb

Starosel tombTeams 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.


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