Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Type / Ancient Site

Tatul – Thracian sanctuary

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Tatul – Thracian sanctuary

About the site


Corridor: Diagonal Road, Eastern Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Bulgaria, Tatul near Momchilgrad
Type: Ancient Site
Epoch: Antiquity
Theme:
World Heritage:
AntiquityAncient Site

The complex near the village of Tatul is situated 35km to the south-east of the town Kardjali. It consists of a Medieval fortress and an ancient pagan sanctuary, hewn into a rock pyramid on a hill above the village. Because of its orientation, directed to the Sun in the equinox day, it is believed this was the place for offerings to the God Sun. For that reason the site is called the Bulgarian “Stonehenge”.
The complex must have been the most sacred place for the Thracians. A number of remains from their religious buildings could be seen on spot. In a huge rock were hewn by chisel a tomb and sacrificial altar, eight steps and a niche for the sacred plate. It is assumed that the sanctuary dates back to the 12th c. BC. On the site were discovered royal objects – a golden mask and sceptre, a small figure of Orpheus holding a lyre, ceramics. That is why this Thracian sanctuary is well known with the assumptions of historians that it is the site where Orpheus was buried. The religious tradition here that proved out to be very stable throughout all historical periods preserved a unique Thracian sanctuary dedicated to the cult to Orpheus. The place could have also been used as an astronomical centre in ancient times.
Later on, during the Middle Ages, the complex was converted into a significant fortress. Today one can see the western wall, 42m long and the first floor of the main tower, the remains of a church.

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