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The Bulgaria modern passion for the distant past, that of the Thracians which its citizens feel the heirs.

The ancient civilization of the Thracians is one of the oldest in the world and has left a legacy of priceless treasures and monuments scattered throughout Bulgaria .

This people, the oldest of which we know the name in the southeast of Europe, has left many vestiges of its language (which belonged to the same Indo-European branch as Latin and Greek) in inscriptions and names places, mountains or rivers.

Peter King Diomedes Thracian bistognes

The Thracian people also occupied an important place in the literature of its close neighbors.

In the classical period, from the 6th century BC, the Greeks often fell Thracian influences on their mythology, religion, arts, especially music.

Today, the public met the Thracians with the fabulous jewelry exhibition of vases and golden weapons that traveled several countries.

Thracian Treasures of Panagyurishte - historical museum in Sofia

From ancient villages through the cemeteries, ritual objects, you can discover during your stay in Bulgaria the exceptional richness of this mysterious and little-known civilization of the Thracians .

Name and location

Thrace was the Central European region, today shared between Greece Northeast (Western Thrace), European Turkey (Eastern Thrace) and Southern Bulgaria (Thrace North or High Thrace).

Atlas Balkan

The geographical boundaries of Thrace were three seas - the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Sea of ??Marmara.

The historical borders of the kingdom included the Bulgaria today, European Turkey, Greece and North-east regions of Eastern Serbia and the Eastern Republic of Macedonia.

Old map from 1585 of ancient Thrace

Its borders were between the Danube to the north and the Aegean Sea to the south, east Black Sea and the Sea of ??Marmara and the West to the Vardar and the great rivers of Morava.

Origins and History

It is assumed that the Thracians belonged to the first wave of Indo-European immigrants from the North-east steppes.

It would be one of the oldest Indo-European peoples and the area was inhabited by many tribes.

Map of Ancient Tribes in Thrace

Most people simply lived in small villages traditionally built on hilltops.

These little "kingdoms" were led by dynastic families, where "Priest-Kings" ( Polistes ) that relied on an aristocracy, a people of horsemen ( tarabostes ), a mercenary infantry ( peltast ) and free peasant warriors ( Comates ), living in local communities.

Peltast Thrace - 5th-6th centuries

The reputation of the Thracians fighters was perpetuated until the Roman period, when the term referred to a Thracian gladiator types (Spartacus was a Thracian).

Spartacus, a slave and gladiator Thracian origin - Louvre

The capital of the kingdom was where the King lived, often fortified residences and major cities were Abdera Amphipolis (or Abdera), Nicopolis Salmydessus and Seuthopolis.

They were built according to the urban Greek tradition but retaining the royal palace on the Mycenaean style.

For the Greeks, the region was said to be the home of poet Museum and one of the election of land Ares Gods and Dionysus.

During the period Mycenaean, Thrace society was organized around the king (or king-priests).

King Thrace

The Thracians are mentioned as allies of the Trojans in the Iliad, led by Acamas and Peiros.

The social organization of this part of Southeast Europe had reached an unusual degree of complexity so high then.

This riddle is probably due to the copper deposits operated while in the area and had to lead to fairly intense discussions with several Asian countries nearby.

Bronze head of Seuthes III - Archaeological Museum in Sofia

At about 200km from Sofia , archaeological excavations have helped to uncover a true royal necropolis, the tomb of King Seuthes III.

It was clear in this cemetery many gold objects and abundant dishes, including rhytons (elongated vases used for drinking) in gold and silver with animal figures.

Rhyton silver - Treasure Zlatinitsa Malomirovo - 4th century

Men have also bequeathed to posterity another prestigious site - the Chalcolithic necropolis of Varna , on the coast of the Black Sea.

Archaeologists have unearthed a number of tombs of the late 4th millennium BC, who delivered hundreds of gold objects, from tiny beads to bracelets which weigh 200 to 300 grams.

This finding is especially exciting that two tombs contained gold scepters symbols of legitimate authority, clear signs of an already established tradition.

A tomb in the necropolis of Varna

The trade would be the basis for the prosperity of miners burrowed gold wonders with their dead and in which scholars today agree to recognize the ancestors of the Thracians .

Ancient Greek mythology provides the Thracians indeed a mythical ancestor, named Thrax, son of the god Ares.

This mythology is full of Thracian Kings as Diomedes, Lycurgus Tegyrius, Polymestor, Poltys and Oeagrus (Father of Orpheus).

Orpheus among the Thracians

The Greeks were very early attracted by the country's wealth (gold, silver).

From the seventh century, it established coastal settlements with the foundation of Apollonia (or Sozopol) of Dionysiopolis, Histria (or Istros) of Mesembria (or Nessebar ) and Odessos (or Varna ).

From the sixth century the Thracian aristocracy exchanged a lot with the Greeks and even used the Greek alphabet to their writings, which, nevertheless, have not yet been deciphered.

Registration Dionysopolis King Thrace Cotys - National History Museum in Sofia

Throughout the sixth century, the Thracians were heavily recruited for their infantry by the various Greek states and large deposits of gold and silver were extracted from their mines. The region was occupied by the Persians in the late sixth century and early fifth century.

Darius I there led an expedition in 513.

Thrace was then divided into three regions (East, Center and South, and West).

South Thrace (or Lower Thrace) was under the economic domination of Athens from the end of the Persian wars. The city founded the city of Amphipolis.

Map of Ancient Thrace

At the end of the fifth century, according to historians Herodotus (Greek historian, v.425) and Thucydides (Politician and historian Athenian v.395), a dynasty in Odrysses tried to unify Thrace to his advantage.

From the central Thrace, they united all the tribes under one banner and formed a prosperous kingdom on the shores of the Black Sea, with Seuthopolis capital.

Bronze head Seuthes III - National Archaeological Museum in Sofia

The first ruler of which was the trace is drawn I who reigned around 450 BC and is best known for his military skills and his many campaigns during his reign, where he spent a lot of time on the battlefield.

He united several Thracian tribes and founded the first kingdom.

Then succeeded many Thracian Kings - Sitalces, Seuthes I Cotys I Cersobleptès I Seuthes III, Lysimachus ...

And many remains of this civilization are to visit the entire territory of Bulgaria , former ancient land of the Thracians.

Ancient Thracian sites in Bulgaria

Many archaeological sites Thracians be discovered in different parts of the country.

Especially in the region Haskovo with the presence of numerous archaeological sites

Thracian city of Perperikon in Haskovo

As the ancient city of Thrace Perperikon built into the rock, sacred to the cult of Dionysus, god of the National Thracians .

Important center of power, it seems to have participated in the Trojan War alongside the Trojans.

Dionysus - God of Wine and Vine

The city is mentioned by Herodotus.

They found traces of a settlement dating back at least to -4000 years before Christ.

 

Also in the region of Haskovo , you will also discover a key location - and the Curious Village Sanctuary Angel Voivoda who will question you and you certainly intrigue.

The ancient Thracian sanctuary near the town Angel Voivoda has a special place among the many megalithic monuments around Haskovo.

Try to unravel the mysteries of civilization and better understand their history and culture inseparable from those of Bulgaria and allow yourself to soak up the atmosphere and energy that emerge from these ancestral places.

Thracian Sanctuary Angel Voivoda - Haskovo

Other archaeological sites in the great cultural and historical heritage, including Thracian sanctuaries surprise you throughout your stay in the region.

Near the village of Dolni Glavanak, you will discover the sacred site Cromlech a circle of monolithic stone blocks dating from the iron age.

Kovan Kaya, near the village Dolno Tcherkovichté is itself a narcotic religious and megalithic funerary complex.

Surely place funerals of Thracian , it consists of a hundred niches carved into the rock to receive the urns of cremated dead.

 

Or the sanctuaryes niches de roches de Thrace près du village de Dazhdovitsa qui est l’un des nombreux monuments mégalithiques des Rhodopes.

We assume that the niches carved in volcanic rocks were used as funerary urns or to place gifts to the Sun-God.

According to other theories, the niches were used in place of the water to catch the sun and to receive spiritual power to believers in God-Sun.

Arc Momini Gardi - Sanctuary Starosel


And many other Thracian sanctuaries yet - the sanctuary of Gluhite Kamani, dolmen Hliabovo, the sanctuary of the nymphs and Aphrodite Kasnakovo, the Thracian sanctuary Orlovi skali (Eagle Rocks), the chit Kaya site ... to among others.

The often highly ornate tombs and filled with precious objects were covered with a mound of earth (tumulus) higher or lower, depending on rank and wealth of the deceased.

Thracian Tomb - Mounds of Pomorie


The Thracian territories have seen thus build mounds, many of which have disappeared over the ages.

It left more than ten thousand today we have kept intact and protected against illegal excavations.

? Here is an illustration of an ancient Thracian mounds and the plan characteristic of a Thracian tomb


Ancient Thracian tumulus

Plan a Thracian tomb

In some areas they form the most striking features of the landscape.

This is the case throughout the international highway of Istanbul, in the region of Plovdiv .

One of these mounds, in the department of Stara Zagora, housed the tomb of Kazanlak , the frescoes from the 4th century BC, represent a key episode in the history of painting.

Frescoes - Tomb of Kazanlak

They mainly represent a "funeral banquet" that characterizes the extreme delicacy of the central figures, the prince and his wife, and especially the tenderness and distinction of their farewell gesture.

No less remarkable appear parents and relatives of the deceased, horse drivers, bearers of offerings.

This monument of exceptional value is the number of those that UNESCO has inscribed on the World Heritage List.

? Explore further detail in this slideshow are some of the many Thracian tombs discovered in Bulgaria - Tomb of Sveshtari, Tomb of Kazanlak, ancient tomb in Pomorie dome to name a few ...

 

Admire the unexpected treasures, the beautifully decorated objects and a high quality of execution by going to the different museums of Bulgaria including the National History Museum in Sofia .

Most of these traditional items , chance finds or rewards systematic excavations, came from the great tombs, past mansions of men who believed in the afterlife and the union, after death, with the divine principle.

 

These objects testify to the incredible richness and expertise of this ingenious and unknown ancient Thracian civilization.

The region of Haskovo is an ideal destination to go in the footsteps of the first civilizations that make the vast wealth of the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage.

? To better understand the history and richness of the mysterious civilization of the Thracians in Bulgaria here in video history and priceless treasures, monuments and objects they have left us a legacy

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