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The World of the Thracians - a theme park for ancient history lovers

Photo: BTA

In the Valley of the Thracian Kings near the village of Shipka, where the most important burial tombs of the rulers of the ancient Thracian kingdom of the Odrysians, Kazanlak Municipality has opened the theme park "The World of the Thracians". The tourist centre offers history and archaeology lovers new experiences. A three-dimensional 1:10 scale model of Seuthopolis, the capital of the Odrysian king Seuthes, takes centre stage. The real remains of the royal city are today under the waters of the nearby Koprinka Dam. 

In an interview for Radio Bulgaria, Associate Professor Daniela Stoyanova explains that being a consultant to the project it was important to the team how far the reconstruction would go in this huge 800 square meter model. 

Assoc. Prof. Daniela Stoyanova
"Knowing the remains of Seuthopolis well, because of the material that this monument is made of - stone for the foundations, adobe, which is very easily degraded, and wood - we don't actually have very serious remains of the city. For archeologists, such remains are very important. We can build on the mental image, but with the model there is some added reality. For us it was important how far that added reality would go, we had to first get clear on whether we were going to do things to a roof and what exactly we were going to do to the lever of the roof and see if it would be possible. It turned out that the remains we have allow reconstructions, graphical or in 3D models, up to the roofs. Moreover, we were assisted in our work by graphic reconstructions made by the team exploring Seuthopolis. Gradually we gained courage, step by step, house by house, to reach the palace itself. So maybe what visitors will see will surprise them, but from the materials the city was built with it should look like this." 

The archaeologist recalls that Seuthopolis was built in the late 4th century BC on the model of early Hellenistic royal cities. Familiar models from the Greek world were used in the urban planning.  But the focus of the reconstruction of the ancient city is not the agora or the temple of the patron deity, but the ruler's citadel, where there was a palace with a throne room, a residence for living and a temple to the Samothracian gods. Unfortunately, in the Middle Ages there was a settlement and a necropolis above the remains of the citadel. The stones have been reused, making it difficult to study the original structures. 

The World of the Thracians theme park also includes a new covering of the unique 5th century BC temple and tomb beneath the Ostrusha Mound. Restoration of the ceiling frescoes has been carried out. To preserve the images, tourists will now view a replica of the original cult structure, which was carved from two monolithic stones. 

The tomb in Ostrusha Mound
"This is something that should be common practice - to have a protective building under which the remains of monuments are very well preserved. We can't put them all under a protective building, but in the case of the tomb in the Ostrusha Mound, this has been implemented and allows us to see the site in its entirety. Even after its discovery it was covered with a protective building, but only the chamber with the frescoes was accessible, not the whole complex. This is because the complex developed in several stages as architecture, and what has been preserved is extremely impressive and different for Thrace. Now we will be able to see it in its entirety, and in this complex new technologies will certainly be used to allow visitors to see the frescoes. The burial chamber itself will not be accessible to visitors so we can preserve the frescoes."
Associate Professor Stoyanova has been researching for years the Thracian tombs and the capital of the Getae in the cultural and historical reserve of Sboryanovo in Northeastern Bulgaria, near the village of Sveshtari and the town of Isperh. One of the tasks she has set herself is the preservation and conservation of the already discovered archaeological sites. The same must be the fate of the many tombs discovered in his lifetime by the great scholar Assoc. Georgi Kitov in the Valley of the Thracian Kings, explains the archaeologist. She believes that attractions such as "The World of the Thracians" are good ventures that will direct tourists to the other treasures of the Thracians preserved in the museums of Bulgaria. 

In addition, a cycle path has been built to connect all the Thracian tombs in the region.

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Photos: Ivo Ivanov, BTA, kazanlak.bg

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