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Bulgarian Capital to Invest Big in Downtown Archaeology Complex

Date: 02.05.2010

Bulgaria’s capital Sofia needs about BGN 20 M in order to excavate and restore the archaeology complex of ancient and medieval Serdika.

In February-March 2010, during the construction of the second line of the Sofia Metro, archaeological teams have uncovered previously unknown objects, sites, and artifacts which led the Sofia Municipality and the Culture Ministry to decide to turn the very downtown of the Bulgarian capital into a top tourist attraction by revealing the streets of the the Roman town of Serdika and the medieval town of Sredets.

The discoveries led to the freezing of the construction of the metro line until the downtown of Sofia is fully excavated.

Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova took Tuesday the ambassadors of the EU member states on a tour around the newly uncovered sites while stressing that she would rely on their support to help the municipality seek funding from various international sources.

“We are determined to find enough money for the Serdika-Sredets archaeological complex,” said Fandakova as cited by the Cross Agency.

Currently, the excavations in downtown Sofia are being funded by the Metropolitan, the municipal firm running the subway, the Culture Ministry, and the Sofia Municipality.

Fandakova pointed out that more money will be needed for the excavation and restoration of the ancient and medieval sites uncovered on the spot of the future Metro Station 8-II.

Metro Station 8-II happens to be located right in the center of the ancient Thracian and Roman town of Serdika where Emperor Constantine the Great had a summer palace, and of the medieval Bulgarian town of Sredets.

“Our aim is to preserve everything that history left behind without blocking the development of the city, i.e. to help the archaeologists get out on display the cultural heritage of Sofia so that it can be experienced first-hand by the people. This is a unique chance for Sofia as a cultural tourism destination which will boost the development of the city,” stated Mayor Fandakova.

The most recent archaeological excavations in downtown Sofia have uncovered well-preserved traces of the life in the city from almost all historical periods in the last few thousand years.

The finds include a stone claw-hammer from prehistoric times, the main street of the Roman town of Serdika from the Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages (4th-6th century), including the sewage and water supply system; pottery, coins, and jewels from the 8th-12th century, a church dated back to the 13th century; another church and a necropolis dated back to the 14ths century, and a total of 150 graves mostly from the Middle Ages.

The spot around Metro Station 8-II falls within the wider confines of the town of Serdika/Sredets. In its vicinity archaeologists have also found recently several town squares from ancient times, as well as a luxury house and several baths dated to 180-250 AD.

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