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Rich and deep rooted hisory

Land of Ancient Civilizations


Varna necropolis
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The favorable and moderate climate together with the various natural resources and land forms allowed early, human settlements to appear as far back as the Paleolithic age. One of the ancient civilization that inhabited these lands in the 5th millennium BC created the world's oldest golden treasure consisting of 3010 worked gold objects from the Varna necropolis. The exhibition made a sensation in Japan, Spain, Canada, the USA, Mexico, France, Austria, Poland, India, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands. Thracian mythology is intertwined with Ancient Greek legends and myths. Bulgaria is the fatherland of the mythical Thracian poet and musician Orpheus and of Spartacus, the famous gladiator and leader of the greatest slave insurrection in Ancient Rome.

Conquerors throughout the Ages

The richness of the land and culture may be why this land has always attracted conquerors throughout the centuries. This country has witnessed fierce battles for freedom and independence fought against the Romans, Byzantines, and Turks. Numerous Thracian fortifications and medieval Bulgarian strongholds have been erected on the foundations of Roman forts in Perperikon, Mezek, Moniak, Ustra, Tzepina, Urvich, Chertigrad, Durostorum, Castra Martis, and Tvarditza. Few countries in the world have inherited such historical and cultural diversity. There are remains of necropolises, settlements, shrines, roads, bridges and drinking fountains dating from Antiquity and the Middle Ages all over Bulgaria.

Spiritual and Religious Diversity


Thracian tomb of Kazanlak
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The significant number of archaeological findings indicates a well-developed spiritual culture and diverse religious beliefs. The sanctuaries on Bulgarian territory are numerous and quite diverse. Thracian shrines are most often found in caves, on rock niches, near springs, by strangely shaped rock formations, and on spots having natural magnetism. The most prominent examples are the awesome rock niche and the cliffs of the Madara ritual complex, the Belantash region in the Rhodopes Mountains (probably a shrine dedicated to Sabazios), the Glava Panega cave and lake, and the Kamen Rid region near the village of Sveshtari, Razgrad region. The round and trapezoid carved rock niches apparently represent cult forms. According to some scholars, burial urns were kept there. They are most commonly found in the Eastern Rhodopes. The numerous tumuli and necropolises are closely related to ritual. The oldest Thracian tombs are the dolmens - prehistoric megalith tombs that can be dated back to the 2nd -1st millennium BC. There are more than 700 of them in Bulgaria. The Thracian tomb of Kazanlak, the great tomb of Sveshtari, and the vaulted tombs near Mezek and Strelcha date from later periods. Basilica-type early Christian churches were built in this land even before the Bulgarian State was founded. During the first Bulgarian Kingdom, they became the most common types of building.

Conversion to Christianity

In order to strengthen the medieval Bulgarian State and to form a unified Bulgarian nation, ethnic differences among Bulgaria's inhabitants - Proto-Bulgarians, Slavs, Thracians etc. had to be overcome. In order for the country to become part of the European Christian culture, Christianity had to be adopted as the official religion. Boris Is intention to accept baptism from Rome was thwarted by Byzantium which in alliance with Moravia, Croatia and Serbia, began a war against Bulgaria. Boris I had to accept a conversion to Christianity from Constantinople in 864 AD.

The Golden Age of Literature


Preslav
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The new state religion was imposed by force; the pagan temples and sanctuaries were razed to the ground and churches were built in their stead. Several years later, an independent Bulgarian church was proclaimed, and shortly afterwards, the capital of Pliska welcomed the disciples of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius. Bulgaria thus became the first center of Slavonic literature. Many young men were sent to school in Constantinople. Bulgarian clergy was prepared to replace the Byzantine one and literature in the Slavonic language was created. Along with the churches, monasteries were built. Many members of the royal family retreated to the cloisters, thereby contributing to the new spiritual development. The literary schools of Preslav (9th century), Ochrid (9th - 10th century), Kilifarevo (14th century), Tirnovo (14th century), and Sofia (15th century) appeared. Simeon I's (893-927 AD) rule marked the advent of the Golden age of the Bulgarian literature and scholarly development. Scholars in the new capital of Great Preslav engaged in active translating, copying and writing of books. Ecclesiastic, scientific, historical, encyclopedic, religious, and secular hagiographic writings were created. A similar advance in architecture and in church iconography paralleled this cultural progress.


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Last update: Wed, 22 August, 2007 16:16