The Thracians’ world and heritage
The Thracians have left behind a multitude of cultural monuments that grow in number every year thanks to archaeological excavations. Unconquerable warriors, mystical priests and skilled jewelers, they mastered metal, gold, and silver making. They were very good singers and musicians. They honored nature and its gifts and knew how to utilize the laws that govern it. Notable among their crafts were iron-smithery, especially weapon making, as well as processing bronze perfectly. They were also making bronze bracelets, rings, clothing ornaments, horse decorations and arrow tips. Vine-growing was also very important; the Thracians’ love for wine is well-known. Local goldsmiths used to make breastplates from silver and gold that are representative of Thracian items of clothing, ceremonial decorations for the kings, their entourage and their horses. The breastplates were also used for phials and Thrhytons when drinking on special occasions. Various hand-made and pottery items, bronze horse harness decorations, and 6th-4th century BC iron weapons in the Thracian necropolises were discovered in the Varna Region near the villages of Dobrina, Kipra, Brestak, etc. Weapons and bronze items distinctive for the Thracian culture can be found in many places in Bulgaria. Their horse decorations are created in the so-called „animalistic style“, which is highly sophisticated.
This is evidenced by a number of bronze findings such as appliqués and headwear for horse headstalls that are abundant in any Bulgarian city museum. The most distinctive and also most well-studied display of Thracian aristocratic culture are the opulent funerals, often conducted in monumental tombs and under imposing burial mounds. It is believed that the number of Thracian burial mounds in Bulgaria exceeds 100,000. Wealthy mound funerals have been studied and opened for visitors in the mounds near the village of Duvanli, in the Plovdiv Region, in the Mound of Mogilan in Vratsa, near the village of Sveshtari, the Isperih Region, near the village of Mezek, in the Svilengrad Region, and many others.
The Kazanlak Tomb is famous for its magnificent murals. In the domed room, in the central depiction you can see a noble racian crowned with a wreath and seated beside a low table, with his wife next to him on a throne. By his side is a procession of musicians, servants with gifts and stablemen with a chariot and horses. This procession will make you sense the splendor and magnificence of the Thracians’ ancient customs. The wealth of the Thracians can also be assessed based on their treasures that are being discovered today. Particularly impressive is the Panagyurishte Treasure, consisting of nine golden vessels richly decorated with figural compositions.
The biggest treasure discovered so far is the Rogozen Treasure, consisting of 165 silver vessels, most of which richly ornamented. Only five, but magnificently made, are the silver vessels of the treasure discovered near the village of Borovo, in the Ruse Region. The treasures of Lukovit and Letnitsa contain silver horse harness decorations with interesting figural images. All treasures mentioned above can be seen in the Bulgarian National Museum of History in Sofia. An impressive tomb with beautiful murals was discovered in 2001 near the village of Aleksandrovo, in the Haskovo Region. In 2004, a golden mask of a racian king, as well as a silver wine rhyton depicting the head of a horned animal were discovered in the Svetitsata mound, in the Kazanlak Region, where a Thracian ruler was buried. The inside of the grave is paneled in wood. It contains the remains of a human skeleton, one bronze vessel and three big well-preserved clay amphorae. The discoveries still continue today.