This excursion takes us to the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon – the largest megalith ensemble on the Balkan peninsula and known worldwide as the Bulgarian Machu Picchu.
Located atop a tall hill in the Eastern Rhodope mountains and carved into its rocky cliffs, Perperikon is built in a place that was believed to be sacred. Archeological findings show that it was inhabited as early as the 6th millennium BC, during the Neolithic era, and it was likely used as a sanctum. Perperikon fell into the hands of the Thracians during the Bronze age, when they established it as a place of worship from which it grew into a large megalithic sanctuary. It continued to function as such throughout Roman Empire’s hold over the region, when it is further developed and expanded with the addition of an Acropolis and other structures. It later fell into the hands of the Byzantines. What followed were centuries of war between the Byzantines and the Bulgarians, during which the city was conquered multiple times by both sides. It was finally razed to the ground by the invading Ottoman Turks in the mid-14th century.
Excavations began in the year 2000, and over the course of several years Perperikon has transformed into the fascinating archeological complex it is today. Some historians believe that Perperikon is the location of the ancient Temple of Dionysius that is mentioned in numerous ancient Greek texts.
While advanced metalworkers, the Thracians were not typically city-builders, preferring to live in villages instead, which makes the size and structure of Perperikon all the more impressive. Today you can see what is left of the numerous buildings, streets, a water supply system, structures that were used for ritualistic purposes, such as a roofless oval hall that was used for divination, an altar, tubs used for winemaking, and the tombs of the rulers that were buried in the city during its golden days. Among the later structures are a nave basilica built after the Byzantines converted the Thracian tribe that inhabited the city at the time to Christianity, and a medieval fortress.
You will be able to experience Perperikon up close and personal as you walk through these streets that have seen thousands of years go by.
- What Will You DoExplore the ancient city of Perperikon – 8000 years old
Visit the Temple of Dionysius – the God of Wine
See its Megalithic center
Get a close look at the Medieval fortress
- What To ExpectThe Perperikon archeological complex has been razed to the ground and rebuilt many times over the ages, and as a result it now resembles a patchwork of several eras, its oldest sections being 8000 years old. You’ll have the chance to walk through its streets and see Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Medieval Bulgarian buildings up close and learn about its long and complicated history.
- What Is IncludedA tour guide