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Orpheus Sanctuary

Delve into the mystique of the Orpheus Sanctuary, a Bulgarian archaeological treasure that predates the Egyptian pyramids by a millennium, holding clues to an ancient civilization lost in time.

GuideBG Glimpse

Immerse yourself in the mystery of Orpheus’s sanctuary nestled within the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, a thousand years older than the Egyptian pyramids. This astounding discovery was made by an archaeological expedition researching the Thracian temple near Tatul, a village near Momchilgrad.

Discovering Orpheus Sanctuary

Six millennia ago, remarkable structures, sharp semi-precious stone blades, clay pots, and animal remains emerged from this site. The evidence collected by the archaeologists implies that this may indeed be the tomb of Orpheus, the legendary musician, poet, and prophet of Greek mythology. Pilgrims from around the ancient world may have journeyed here to pay their respects.

A Sacred Space as Ancient as Stonehenge

Only a few sacred complexes worldwide, such as Stonehenge, could rival the age of the Orpheus Sanctuary. While the pyramids of Egypt were built 4,500 years ago, the Thracians were constructing their own rocky sanctuaries 1,500 years earlier in the Rhodope Mountains.

When asked why the temple is older than the Egyptian pyramids, Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov explains, “Indeed, it is older. The earliest evidence of worship and residential habitation dates back to the 4th millennium BC, or 6,000 years ago. We had suspicions, but we have found a rich layer from that period, with wonderful ceramics, complete deer horns, stone tools, and dwellings.”

Unearthing Pottery from the Past

Archaeologists point out that it’s rare to discover a 6,000-year-old vessel. Yet, in the prehistoric dwellings of Tatul, over 20 such vessels have been preserved. These artifacts have helped researchers ascertain the temple’s actual age.

According to Assoc. Prof. Krasimir Leshtakov from St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, “This is a dwelling that has fallen, and we found it as it was. Such situations in prehistory are very few. I cannot yet state the exact date, but it is definitely from before 4,000 BC.”

A Long History of Habitation

Life thrived in Tatul for five thousand years. The military leaders of Alexander the Great erected a magnificent Orphean temple here. Four centuries later, the Thracian Odrysian tribe, with the aid of Roman legions, seized and burned down the sanctuary. However, the Romans promptly restored it.

Essential details

Year of construction:
4000
Can be seen on:
The Discovery Road Trip, Southwestern Bulgaria Road Trip

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Enhance your understanding and delight in the traditional events and unique locales Bulgaria has to offer. Alongside these, discover other mesmerizing places within the country. We invite you to peruse our recommended itineraries for these insightful explorations.

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