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The gods showed Emperor Trajan place to establish Marcianopolis

Photo: bulgariatravel.org

Few people know that under a residential area of the northeastern Bulgarian town of Devnya the remains of one of the strategic centers of the Roman Empire lie – Marcianopolis. The place attracted the attention of the Romans with the abundant amount of building materials and drinking water.

According to legends, one day the Roman emperor Trajan stopped with his troops near the Devnya karst springs and his sister Marciana sent her maid for water. However, the maid dropped the golden cup but to everyone's surprise it later emerged in a nearby river. The superstitious Romans took this as a benevolent sign from the gods and the emperor decided to establish a city, calling it after his beloved sister.

During its existence, Marcianopolis became an arena of significant historical events and reached a high economic and cultural heyday during the Severus dynasty (193-235). The city was organized on the model of the Greek and Asia Minor cities with a triumphal arch, temples of deities from the Greco-Roman pantheon, library, basilicas, high school, and amphitheater with 3500 seats.

More about this impressive city, founded during the Roman period on the territory of today's Bulgaria, can be found in the article "Marcianopolis – an ancient city with amazing Roman mosaics" from the rich collection of Radio Bulgaria.

Compiled by: Diana Tsankova

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