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Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Ground Up:The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak in Bulgaria

The Tomb of Kazanlak in Bulgaria holds the most well preserved art of the Hellenistic world.

The Tomb of Kazanlak dates back to the fourth century B.C.E and is that of an important chieftain of the Odrysae Tribe. The Odrysae occupied the southern part of the Thracian territory, now central Bulgaria. It’s located 5 miles from Seuthopolis and was surprisingly discovered by accident. When excavation began in 1944, a tholos-a tomb shaped like beehive was discovered intricately decorated with murals of Hellenistic art.

It’s said that the inspiration for the dome came from the Mycenean tombs in Greece, compared to the Treasury of Atreus, however it was built on a much smaller scale. The main burial chamber measures close to 11 feet high and the entire tomb is divided into three sections-the main chamber, antechamber, and a corridor connecting the two.

The murals, which are by far the most well preserved artworks from the Hellenistic world, are painted with battle scenes, gracefully cantering horses, geometric patterns, and a banquet depicting a man bidding farewell to his wife.

The entire tomb is housed under an enclosure and entrance to the tomb is restricted to scholars. The main objective for these stringent rules is to protect the pristine condition of the paintings, therefore allowing the scholars to study the murals in a safe and protective environment. There is, however, a replica nearby that visitors can examine so the real site is never compromised.

The Tomb of Kazanlak was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak in Bulgaria


The geographical center of Bulgaria – between the Stara Planina and Sredna Gora mountains – is known as the Rose Valley. For centuries the fragrant Bulgarian rose has been grown there and the attar of roses is extracted fro the production of rose oil. There, 40 years ago, in the town of Kazanluk a small Thracian Tomb was found, with murals which are of exceptional interest in the world’s cultural heritage. Check the site Ancient Bulgaria

The World Heritage Site also shares some incites into the Tomb of Kazanlak and there's also some interesting reviews and information. There is one in particular from one of Ancient Digger's readers Rossitza Ohridska-Olson.


Reproductions Pictures

1 Comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you very much, Lauden, for posting article about the Thracian tomb.

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