Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Country / Bulgaria



About the site

Corridor: Via Pontica
Country: Bulgaria, Pliska
Type: Fortress
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Fortresses
World Heritage:
Middle AgesFortressesFortress

Pliska is the first capital of the Bulgarian state, founded at the end of the 7th c. (681) by the proto-Bulgarian tribes, which lead by Khan Asparouh pass through the Danube and permanently settle to the south of the river. Built in the open plain, covering an area of 23 square km, the capital was safely fortified with three defence belts – the outside was a deep earth ditch with high embankment, the middle one was a fortification wall 10m high, built of huge stone blocks, and the inner fortification, where the citadel was located, was built of clay bricks.
The ancient capital is today an archaeological reserve, where the preserved remains of the monumental buildings are exhibited. The palace of Khan Krum, erected in the period of construction of Pliska, covered 500 square m. Inside, along with the representative, residential and farm buildings, there were baths, a big water reservoir and secret passages, leading out of the town. During the second building stage – the reign of Khan Omurtag, were erected the fortification walls, the richly decorated Royal palace, the so-called small palace for the Khan’s family with new baths and two pagan temples. Typical for the third building period is the construction of early Christian temples, erected after the adoption of Christianity by the Bulgarians, officially proclaimed in Pliska. The most outstanding architectural monument of that time is the Great Basilica – the biggest of its time Christian church on the Balkan peninsula (11 x 30m), which was part of a impressive monastery complex with elaborate architecture. In Pliska Tsar Boris I accepted in 886 the students of the founders of the Slavonic letters, the brothers Cyril and Methodius.
In the archaeological museum in the reserve are exhibited the living style, the material, cultural and spiritual life of the population from the period 7th – 10th c.

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