Thracian sanctuary at Tatul

The Thracian sanctuary at Tatul was discovered in the 2000s. The ancient Thracian surface tomb and sanctuary quickly gained recognition as an important religious center.

Thracian sanctuary at Tatul

The Thracian sanctuary at Tatul was discovered in the 2000s by Bulgarian archaeologists. They unearthed an ancient Thracian surface tomb and sanctuary, which quickly gained recognition as an important religious center for the entire region around Tatul, Bulgaria.

Based on the latest archaeological findings, it is estimated that the earliest settlement in this area dates back to 4000 BC. Archaeologist Ovcharov suggests that the site served as both a sanctuary and tomb for a highly influential Thracian leader who was revered as a deity after his death. He also links the site to the cult of Orpheus, a prominent figure in ancient Thracian mythology.

Excavations at the site have revealed around 30 clay altars and various artifacts from the 19th and 18th centuries BC. Notably, an idol depicting a nude male figure from the Iron Age was discovered, indicating that the sanctuary was continuously used during that period. In the 4th to 1st century BC, a stone wall was constructed around the hill, and a temple was built shortly afterward. Over time, the religious complex expanded, and the focus of worship shifted from the original burial site to the newly constructed mausoleum.

In subsequent centuries, additional structures were added to the complex, including buildings from the 2nd to 3rd century AD. However, with the Christianization of the Rhodopes in the late 4th to early 5th century, the complex transformed into a domain belonging to a local ruler, featuring a defensive tower. The site endured two significant earthquakes, one in the 12th century BC and another in the 14th century AD.

Since the beginning of the excavations, efforts have been made to preserve and conserve the site. Today, it is evolving into a tourist destination, with renewed and newly created infrastructure to accommodate visitors. The Tatul Thracian complex has already opened its doors to tourists, offering them a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of the region.

  • References

    image: “Tatul” by aaronvandorn is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/?ref=openverse.

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