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Sanctuary of goddess Bastet near Malko Tarnovo – between legends and reality

Photo: Pixabay/photo-fuse Radio Bulgaria

Nearly 40 years ago, a secret expedition went to Gradishte locality in Strandzha Mountain (Southeastern Bulgaria) to explore a mysterious place associated with an ancient civilization. The site was localized on a treasure map and the team was headed personally by Lyudmila Zhivkova, the daughter of Bulgaria’s former communist leader Todor Zhivkov. Although the famous Bulgaria prophetess Vanga warned them to stay away from this place, the explorers reached a depth of 25 meters. According to the Bulgarian clairvoyant Baba Vanga, the secret of humanity was buried there, but it was still early for this secret to be revealed.

In 2018, archaeologist Daniel Pantov, Director of the Primorsko Museum of History, managed to detect the presence of a metallic object about 18 meters below the original excavation.  Thanks to the only georadar in Bulgaria, which is owned by the Promorsko Museum of History, the team came to the conclusion that the find was in a room which could be reached via spiral galleries. What was seen there further inflamed the desire of the archaeologists to unravel the mystery that had immersed into the secrets of time:

“We will try to go inside”, Daniel Pantov who was born in Strandzha area and grew up with the legends about this place told Radio Bulgaria." This is in the researcher’s blood and I am interested to see exactly what is there, but at this point I don’t see how it will happen, because we are facing a series of impediments.  On one hand, we are still amidst the Covid-19 crisis. On the other hand, our municipality is poor and the state does not finance such types of researches. It depends on the local authorities to a large extent, because they have the greatest interest in developing the area. It the necessary financing is found, I am sure that we will find the people who are not afraid of the stories about this place and we will do things the right way.”

Daniel Pantov during excavations in 2018  / Photo: Primorsko History Museum

Although this year’s archaeological season was delayed, some researches are planned to the east of the town of Malko Tarnovo:

“We are talking about a burial mound which has nothing to do with the abovementioned site, but most likely it is connected with mining and the inhabitants of Mishkova Niva and Gradishte areas”, the archaeologist specifies. “The tomb of Bastet is perhaps located at the foot of Gradishte Fortress. We keep in touch with the only archaeologist who was present at the excavations at that time – Professor Ilya Prokopov. I hope that he will be part of our team if we start the research.”

There used to be a lot of sacred places in the mythical Stradzha. As a result, many questions arose. All documents and finds around this mysterious object remain shrouded in secrecy hidden from the explorers. Perhaps it is part of an ancient sanctuary transformed into a tomb, but there is no reliable evidence. Probably the whole information was classified and archaeologists do not have certain facts which could be of big importance for their research. The only thing we know is that ceramic fragments, tools and other archaeological finds were discovered there.

Входът към пещерата с предполагаемата гробница на Бастет / Снимка: Иво Филипов

“For me personally, the biggest challenge is to check and find out whether we are talking about a tomb or something else. I am not talking about any adornments linked with the find, but rather of the rumors of an unknown script and an object of an extraterrestrial origin.  It is very likely that these are only ore galleries containing tools used in the mining industry and may have nothing to do with the rumors and the legends. However, some sources of information indicate about the presence of some large granite blocks in this area which means that something else may be hidden there.”

As for the legend about the Egyptian goddess Bastet, archaeologist Daniel Pantov does not rule out the possibility of a presence of Egyptian civilization on these lands in the past.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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