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The Thracian Tomb in Kazanluk

The groom with the saddled horses and the bodyguard
The groom with the saddled horses and the bodyguard

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.

The settlements in the Rose Valley date from ancient times. A Neolithic settlement (5 000 - 4 000 B.C.) was found in the western area of Kazanluk. The excavations revealed that the settlement had existed during the Stone-Copper Age and during the first half of the Bronze Age (4 000 - 3 000 B.C.).

The next settlers in the Rose Valley were the Thracians. Their way of life and knowledge were based on the conditions and prerequisites established by their predecessors.

The numerous burial mounds in the Kazanluk area (more than 500), together with the remains of Thracian settlements - including Seuthopolis, the only Thracian city that has been completely excavated, preserved and researched, show that the area was inhabited by a large Thracian population, which reached the height of its cultural development during the 5 th - 3rd Centuries B.C.

Seuthopolis was founded by the Thracian King Seuth III at the end of the 4th Century B.C. The city was fortified, with a lay-out based on the principles of the Greek polis. Monumental works of Thracian architecture have been found in Seuthopolis: the palace-temple, with interiors decorated with murals and the temples of Dionysius and the Great Thracian Gods. Seven tombs made of brick were discovered in the necropolis and four of them are of the beehive type. The use of brickwork in the making of tombs is typical for the area of Seuthopolis - nowhere else in Trace were bricks used so widely in building. Recently, two more tombs with murals were discovered in the area - at the town of Muglizh and the village of Krun near Kazanluk. The murals in the palace in Seuthopolis as ,well a preferred and widely used element of interior decoration of tombs, traditions which reached their perfection in the Kazanluk Tomb.

Dafina Vasileva

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