Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Period / Antiquity

Nicopolis ad Istrum

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Nicopolis ad Istrum

About the site

Corridor: Danube Road
Country: Bulgaria, Nikopol
Type: Ancient Site
Epoch: Antiquity
Theme: Antiquity
World Heritage:
AntiquityAntiquityAncient Site

The archaeological reserve “Nicopolis Ad Istrum” is situated 20km to the north of the town Veliko Tarnovo. It has a Roman name, meaning The Town of victory on the Danube. The ancient Roman town was founded by the Emperor Traianus to commemorate his victory over the Daces in 102-106. Nicopolis was built on bear field, by the river Rositsa, where important roads cross the fertile lands. At the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd c. it was a flourishing town, with properties covering large territories where the estates of the town aristocracy were found. Nicopolis Ad Istrum was honoured with mint rights. There are over 900 types of coins bearing its name. Various deities, typical buildings, town gates are depicted on them. The town existed until 7th c. when it was destroyed by the Avers. By the building of Nicopolis Ad Istrum was applied the Hypodam system – streets with huge stone slabs covering cross at right angle and are orientated North-South and East-West. Along them Romans built water drains. In the central part is the town square, once decorated with statues of deities, emperors and honourable citizens. Around are the city council, the basilica, a small theatre, shops and other public and private buildings. Fresh water was provide for the town baths and dwellings through three water mains, the main one 27km long. The town was fortified with strong walls, 8m high, and encircled by 12m high towers.
During the archaeological survey in the ancient Roman town were discovered a marble statue of the God of love Eros, a bronze head of the Emperor Gordian III (238-244), a number of statues, inscriptions etc. Over 100 tumuli are preserved in the vicinity of Nicopolis Ad Istrum. The most interesting finds are exhibited in the Archaeological museum in Veliko Tarnovo.

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