Podcast in English
Bulgarian National Radio © 2022 All Rights Reserved

Portus Baglar or the bay of vines reveals secrets lying on the bottom of the Black Sea for thousands of years

Discovery of a massive iron anchor
Photo: historymuseum.org

An underwater National History Museum expedition in the bay of Cape Hristos, South of Sozopol, ended a few days ago after making some unique discoveries connected with the history of navigation, and loading and unloading operations in this portion of Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.

Cape Hristos is the Southeasternmost rocky cape on Budzhaka peninsula near the town of Sozopol. To the South of the town there is a big bay, marked as Portus Baglar (or bay of vines) on maps throughout the whole of the 18th century. Hundreds of valuable items connected with navigation in the region (amphorae, stone anchors) have been found in this bay over the past 40 years. Experts think there existed a port area on Budzhaka peninsula in antiquity and during the Middle Ages, and it attended to the ancient settlement, the Medieval churches and the monastery in the locality of Kavatsite.

Budzhaka peninsula and the bay next to Cape Hristos

The underwater archaeological expedition, led by Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov, Deputy Director of the National History Museum, found quite a few fragmented ceramic containers and amphorae dating back to different periods (4th C. BCE -18th C. CE) at a depth of 6 to 10 metres. The earliest finds are two stone anchors with two openings – experts believe they are the oldest ship elements, used as early as the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The stone anchors discovered are dated to the 3rd-4th millennium BCE though they are known to have been used down to the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE.

Four iron anchors, dated to the 12th-18th C. were also discovered during the underwater exploration in the region of Portus Baglar. The underwater expedition made other valuable discoveries in the region of Sozopol as well which are yet to be studied.

The overall survey of the coastline in this part of Bulgaria’s Black Sea shore has led researchers to believe that besides providing shelter during storms, it was also used for loading and unloading connected with the advanced housing, economic and religious infrastructure. There were two locations where primitive port constructions were probably put up, the first of them at the foot of the medieval monastery South of Cape Hristos which is also being studied. The second location where it is believed there was another pier and a slipway (for launching and landing boats and ships, and for building and repairing them) was at one end of Kavatsite beach. Right up until the beginning of the 20th century, there was an iron pier there, jutting into the sea.

Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov

The study of Cape Hristos will continue until the end of the year, the researchers from the National History Museum say. 

Compiled by Veneta Nikolova

Photos: National History Museum

Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

More from category

Paneurhythmy at the 7 lakes of Rila

Peter Deunov’s paneurhythmy is a philosophy and a dance of joy

Who introduced the practice of paneurhythmy which aims to attain inner balance and harmony, and which has spread across the globe? This is the question we asked you in Radio Bulgaria’s latest quiz. And the answers show that our multilingual readers and..

published on 12/1/22 8:30 AM
A large part of the village of Asparuhovo was destroyed because of the construction of the Tsonevo dam and the church, which can be seen in the photo, was moved stone by stone by the local people from the area of flooding to a higher place.

Submerged Heritage – Bulgarian villages that are now on the bottom of dams

In the middle of the 20th century, dozens of Bulgarian villages were submerged forever underwater and their inhabitants were forcibly evicted from their land. The communist government started the mass construction of dams, but at the..

published on 11/21/22 12:20 PM

In the Christian family, children are brought up ‎with love for God

For the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Christian family is a small temple where, through the sacrament of marriage, the conception and upbringing of children in the Orthodox faith is blessed. In this ecclesiastical family, the man and the woman are..

published on 11/21/22 11:45 AM