Earlier this summer – during August – my family and I managed to carve some time away from work (and games for my daughter 🙂 ) to go to Bulgaria. While there we were able to visit several of the ancient Thracian Tombs in the so called Valley of the Thracian Kings. So first of all I immediately expect you to ask the question — "What is the Valley of the Thracian Kings"? I bet most of you have not heard of it. So here is a summary from what we learned while visiting that region.
First of all it is located in Southern Bulgaria — in a valley bordered by the Balkan range on the North and the so called in Bulgarian Middle Mountain – to the South…although more recent discoveries have found additional burial sites to the South of the Middle Mountain as well – in the region on Nova Sagora.
One of the key parts of the Valley is the settlement / town of Seuthopolis, which interestingly enough was discovered in the period between 1948 and 1954 during the construction of the Koprinka dam. It is probably the only preserved (since it has spent most of its recent time being under water and away from pilfering) ancient Thracian city. The settlement was the capital of the Odris state from the late IV century – beginning of III century BC — and the king of that state at the time was Sevt the III — hence the name of the city. In Kazanlak there is a spectacular museum which hosts a large exhibit on the limited knowledge which is out there on Sevt III as well as copies of artifacts that were discovered in his burrial tomb.
Here is another map which I borrowed (credit is due to the Kazanlak tourist / information center) so to give you an idea of the location of the ancient city of Seuthopolis and the tombs that constitute the Valley of the Thracian Kings
In a follow on posting I will provide more information on Sevt the III, and the burial tomb which is being considered as the tomb of Sevt the III. The name of the tomb is "Goliama Kosmatka" and more about it in the next posting….