The archaeological prospecting made in 2003 by the prestigious team of the Institute of Thracology in Bulgaria, which is managed by Nicolai Dimitrov, has made amazing discoveries for the European history. The prospecting was located in the prehistoric site of the Rhodopes in southern Bulgaria. This site made possible to show the world that Perperikon, the ancient sacred city of the Thracians, deserves to match up to other important discoveries such as those of Knossos in Crete, Mycenae in Greece and Troy in Anatolia.

Text: Jaume Cluet
Pictures: Josep Mª Roselló

The hill of Perperikon is located in the mountain range of the Eastern Rhodopes very close to the town of Kardzhali, which is capital of province in southern Bulgaria. The discovery has been so recent that the final access to Perperikon by car was not possible until 2007. There is not still any refuge for the visitors as introduction to the compulsory twenty-minute ascent on foot to the top of the hill.

The name Perperikon has been kept throughout the times with little changes although it is located in an area of clear Turkish influence. It survived the ancient toponym and hydronym of Perperek-Dere with reference to the river name that has shaped the beautiful valley that can be found in this region.

The remains of a tower of the Middle Age were the only thing that remained standing throughout the centuries. Because of this, the first Bulgarian historians thought that the history of Perperikon could hardly go back beyond the medieval period. In the 30s of the twentieth century Perperikon was visited by Ivan Velkov, who was the first person that considered this place as the typical medieval stronghold. It had already been mentioned by the ancient Byzantine chroniclers. This mistake also persisted in the 50s of the last century when another local historian, Mara Mihailova, studied the place.

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