Bulgaria, although small, is an important piece of the puzzle of world history. And one of the most exciting places that gave birth to the Bulgarian state is the ancient Pliska complex. This magical place is not only the first Bulgarian capital, but also the first European capital, which many people on the old continent do not know about.
Located 28 kilometers northeast of Shumen and only 3 kilometers from the modern city of Pliska, the Pliska National Historical and Archaeological Reserve offers rich history and culture. Visiting this place is mandatory at least once for every Bulgarian.
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Construction and architecture
In 681, when the Bulgarians founded their state, they chose Pliska as their capital. This choice is not accidental – protected by high hills, the city serves as a natural barrier against external attacks. The archaeological complex is a majestic structure divided into three defensive belts.
The first belt includes a deep earthen moat with a high embankment protecting the outer city. The second, built of huge stone blocks, forms a fortress wall about 12 m high, to which pentagonal towers and a gate have been added. The third belt is a brick fortification designed to protect the citadel.
The city has impressive dimensions for its time – 23.3 sq. km. Khan Krum’s palace, built on 500 square meters, is among the most magnificent monuments in the complex. Secret exits also existed, allowing the aristocracy and populace to escape during a siege. The palace had a reservoir and extensive baths.
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The second expansion of the city is associated with the reign of Khan Omurtag (814 – 831), who completed the fortress walls, built temples and erected the Throne Hall.
The rosette from Pliska
The ancient capital keeps many secrets, but the most mysterious of them are the rosettes. Discovered in 1961 during excavations in the area, this ancient copper ornament with a circular shape and seven rays has aroused the interest of historians and archaeologists. It is believed to be the most famous proto-Bulgarian artifact.
With its seven rays, symbolizing the heavenly bodies – Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mercury. This artifact supposedly served astrological predictions related to these seven deities, as well as a connection to ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians, Indians, and Persians.
Do you know what Pliska’s old name is?
The inscriptions on the rosette are still controversial among scholars, and its text appears to be similar to the ancient Minoan language of the island of Crete. The mysterious rosettes from Pliska remain a mystery, and the mystery surrounding them only emphasizes the richness of the ancient Bulgarian culture.
Thus, Pliska, the first capital of the Bulgarians, continues to be a window to the ancient and great past of the country, awakening admiration and curiosity for Bulgarian history and culture. A visit to this historic reserve is a journey back in time, reminding us of our nation’s glorious roots and enriching our understanding of European history.