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Valley of the Thracian Kings

BULGARIA | Saturday, 15 October 2011 | Views [1498]

The only surviving fresco, Tomb of Ostrusha, Valley of Thracian Kings

The only surviving fresco, Tomb of Ostrusha, Valley of Thracian Kings

At about the same time Pericles was building the Parthenon, King Ostrusha ruled in Thrace, north of Plovdiv.  All that remains of his kingdom is his tomb in the “Valley of the Thracian Kings.”  Yordan, the man with the keys, was waiting for us when we arrived at the tomb in the middle of a field of grazing sheep.  Ostrusha’s tomb is unique because of the 32 tiny frescoes painted on the ceiling.  Early Christians defaced most of them – only one remains.  It is believed that this one reminded the Christians of Mary and they decided to leave it alone and even left some money “just in case,” which is how archeologists dated their visit.  They also believe that the burial mound may contain a treasure hoard waiting to be discovered.

Nearby King Seuthes III’s tomb has been totally excavated and the treasures are mostly in the Kazanluk Museum.  This is a part of history quite unknown to us and the museum has done a wonderful job of explaining it but for some reason Bulgarian museums don’t allow photos.  Seuthes also built a city, Seuthopolis, which is the only non-Greek city in Thrace.  It was recessed into the ground and surrounded by water, but now lies beneath the lake.  Only a lack of funding is holding back excavation work.

 

 

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