Bulgarian treasures

Bulgaria is said to be the third European country- after Italy and Greece, so rich in treasures, buried in its soil. Here are some of the most famous gold and silver treasures:

VARNA GOLDEN TREASURE

Varna is one of the biggest Bulgarian cities, also called the Marine capital of Bulgaria.

The Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis was accidentally discovered in October 1972. 294 graves have been found in the necropolis, many containing sophisticated examples of metallurgy (gold and copper), pottery (about 600 pieces, including gold-painted ones), high-quality flint and obsidian blades, beads, and shells. The graves have been dated to 4700-4200 BC. 3000 gold artifacts were found, with a weight of approximately 6 kilograms. Grave 43 contained more gold than has been found in the entire rest of the world for that epoch. Some scientist believe that this treasure is the oldest gold treasure ever found.

PANAGYURISHTE GOLDEN TREASURE

Panagyurishte is a small town in Bulgaria, is is about 91 km east of Sofia.

One frosty morning on the 8th of December 1949 three brothers – Pavel, Petko and Michail Deikovi worked together near Panagyurishte. It’s about ten o’clock in the morning, when processing a new layer of clay they came across unusual glossy objects. With all of its magnificence a fabulous set of vessels glittered in front of the workers. When finally unearthed, it was found to consist of a phial and eight rhytons, one shaped like an amphora and the others like heads of women or animals. Dated to the turn of the fourth and third century BC, the find was sensational, not only for its weight in gold — over 6.146 kg of pure gold, but also for the originality of its forms. It is now a world famous Thracian treasure and one of the most valuable possessions of the National Historical Museum in Sofia.

ROGOZEN TREASURE

Rogozen is a small village in Vratsa province, situated approximately 90km away from Sofia.

The Rogozen Treasure was discovered by chance in 1985 by a tractor driver digging a well in his garden. It consists of 165 receptacles, including 108 phiales, 55 jugs and 3 goblets. It is the biggest treasure found in Bulgaria. The objects are silver with golden gilt on some of them with total weight of more than 20 kg. The treasure is an invaluable source of information for the life of the Thracians, due to the variety of motifs in the richly decorated objects. It is dated back to the 5th-4th centuries BC. The bigger part of the Rogozen treasure is kept in Vratsa museum of history; about 20 vessels belong to the National museum of history in Sofia and are exhibited there.

VULCHITRUN GOLDEN TREASURE

Vulchitrun is a small village in the Northern part of Bulgaria, about 145 km away from Sofia.

The golden set of Vulchitryn treasure consists of 13 vessels, different in form and size. One of the vessels weighs 4.5 kg - a bowl with two handles, and the overall weight of the set is 12.5 kg, pure gold. It was found accidentally, while some peasants were digging their vineyard. One of the vessels is exceptionally interesting and mysterious and consists of the smaller vessels of leaf-like form and connected with a small tube and having a single handle. Opinions vary widely on when the Vulchitrun treasure was created and whom it belonged to. Many scholars believe it was created in the Mycenaean or post-Mycenaean period (1500-1100 BC), times known from the works of Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Others relate it to a much later period - 8th-5th c. BC and attribute it to the culture of the Thracians who had succeeded in building a vast state at that time. The Vulchitrun Treasure has a high artistic value. Its decorations are product of all gold-working techniques known in antiquity: casting, hammering, beating out, with embossed ornaments covered with silver (the so-called nielo technique), and with welded handles. The forms of the vessels themselves are extremely original and strange.

BOROVO TREASURE

The Borovo Treasure was accidentally discovered in 1974, when a field about 2 kilometres from the village of Borovo, Rousse (Bulgaria) was ploughed. Sadly, the plough machine's cutting implements severely damaged the five silver artefacts, but thanks to great restoration work, nowadays their 'scars' are nearly invisible. No tumulus was found at the location, and why the silver treasure was buried here remains a mystery. The Borovo Treasure is a luxurious five-vessel silver gilted drinking set - decorated with gold. It consists of three rhytons (ending in the protomes of a horse, a bull, and a sphinx), and a large two-handled bowl, decorated with a relief of a griffin attacking a deer. The fifth artefact is a richly ornamented amphora-jug. Two bands in relief depicting scenes connected with the cult of Dionysus. On the upper frieze the god is tearing animals to pieces, and chasing satyrs or being chased by them and we can see Dionysus with Ariadne. On the lower part the god marries Ariadne, who unbinds her belt. Hercules is depicted as well, holding a rhyton similar to those of the Borovo Treasure.

LOUKOVIT TREASURE

The little town of Loukovit, close to the town of Lovech, is the site where a Thracian treasure was found accidentally in 1953. Two more discoveries followed in 1955 and 1986. The entire treasure consists of 15 silver containers, 23 applications, horseride equipment and more than 200 silver loops, semispherical buttons, narrow pipes and little applications featuring human and animal images.
Most of the applications were decorated with the images of horsemen pursuing lions and fighting animals. Archeologists think the lion symbolized royalty. These little plates were used for popularizing the divinity of the current ruler. People learned about the ruler’s bravery and achievement and complied. The treasure dates back to the 4th century BC. Now it can be seen in the National Museum of Archeology in Sofia.

PRESLAV GOLDEN TREASURE

The Preslav Treasure was found in autumn of 1978 at the vineyard in Castana, 3 km to the North - West of the second Bulgarian capital – Veliki Preslav. The excavations that followed revealed more than 170 golden, silver and bronze objects including 15 silver Byzantine coins belonging to Constantine VII, Roman II (945 and 959) and other artifacts dating far back to the period between 3-rd and 7-th centuries. Several techniques of jewelry making were used in producing adornments, buttons, appliques etc.: not limited to casting in moulds, welding of small gold balls (granules) or fine gold wire filigree, inlays of pearls and multi-colored enamel.

VRATSA GOLDEN TREASURE

The treasure of Vratsa from the Mogilanska mound comprised three tombs which were yielded , during 1965-66 excavations in the heart of the city. Two were plundered back in antiquity, and the third contained a funeral of a man and a woman, one of the richest to be discovered in Thrace. There are several striking Vratsa treasure artifacts among the multitude of gold and silver objects intended to serve the deceased in the next life.