Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

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Thracian Tomb of Svestari
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sveshtari Thracian tomb Bulgaria IFB.JPG
Location Razgrad Province, Bulgaria
Criteria Cultural: (i), (iii)
Reference 359
Inscription1985 (9th Session)
Area647.6 ha (1,600 acres)
Coordinates 43°44′42″N26°45′59″E / 43.744964°N 26.7663°E / 43.744964; 26.7663
Relief Map of Bulgaria.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location of Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari in Bulgaria

The Thracian Tomb of Svestari (Свещарска гробница, Sveshtarska grobnitsa) is 2.5 kilometers (1.6 mi) southwest of the village of Sveshtari, Razgrad Province, which is 42 kilometers (26 mi) northeast of Razgrad, in northeast Bulgaria. The tomb is probably the grave of Dromichaetes (Ancient Greek : Δρομιχαίτης, romanized: Dromichaites; c. 300 – c. 280 BCE) who was a king of the Getae on both sides of the lower Danube (present day Romania and Bulgaria) around 300 BCE, and his wife, the daughter of King Lysimachus (Greek: Λυσίμαχος, Lysimachos; c. 360 – 281 BCE) who was a general and diadochus (i.e., "successor") of Alexander the Great. [1] [2] The tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [3]


General information

Discovered and excavated in 1982 during excavations at Mound No 7 of the East Mound Necropolis of Sboryanovo (Ginina Mogila) – a tumulus of the early Hellenistic period, the Sveshtari tomb was built in the first quarter of the 3rd century BC. [4] The tomb's construction reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb's architectural decor is considered to be unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The ten female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decorations of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It is an exceptional monument of the Getae, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers. [3]

In 2012, archaeologists uncovered a significant treasure near the village. The treasure included a golden ring, 44 female figure depictions and 100 golden buttons, found in 150 tombs from the 4th century BC. It has been suggested that it is part of the site of the Getan city of Helis. [1]


The Getae had been federated in the Odrysian kingdom in the 5th century BC. [5] It is not known how the relations between Getae and Odrysians developed. The Balkan campaigns of Philip II of Macedon between 352 and 340 BC shattered Odrysian authority and the Getae profited from the situation. [6] [7] By the second half of the 4th century, the Getae occupied sites on both banks of the lower Danube [7] [8] and this region flourished as never before. [9] The new Macedonian conquests, secured with considerable military power, caused consternation in the adjoining territories and thus stimulated the political fusion of the Getic tribes. [10]

The Getic tomb at Sveshtari in the western Ludogorie in Bulgaria is also supposed to have been near the location of Helis. [11] In the vicinity of the mausoleum, the remains of a large ancient city were found along with dozens of Getic mound tombs. The settlement is situated in a natural stronghold, a plateau surrounded like a peninsula by the ravines of Krapinets River. [12] [13] The outer stone wall, up to 4m thick, follows the edges of the peninsula and defends a territory of about 10 hectares. The inner wall, of similar construction, encloses a roughly quadrilateral area of about 5 hectares. [13] The fortified territory was relatively densely occupied by dwellings connected by a network of thoroughfares. [14] Dating finds such as amphorae stamps and coins indicate that this settlement existed between c. 335 and c. 250 BC. [13] [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cotys I or Kotys I was a king of the Odrysians in Thrace from 384 BC to his murder in 360 BC. He was known to have been born during the reign of Seuthes I, based on ancient sources and date of birth estimates for Cotys, his daughter who married the Athenian general Iphicrates, and her son Menestheus. According to Harpokration, he reigned for 24 years, which places his accession in 384 BC. Although his origins are actually unknown, An Athenian inscription dated to 330 BC, which honors Reboulas, brother of Cotys and son of king Seuthes. As the ordinal of Seuthes is not mentioned, it was unclear, however, which of the preceding kings named Seuthes is meant by the inscription. While scholars originally believed Seuthes II to be the father of Cotys I, now it is known that Seuthes I was his father, as Seuthes II was only 7 years old at the time of Seuthes I's abdication in 411 BC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thracians</span> Ancient Indo-Europeans in eastern Europe

The Thracians were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Southeast Europe in ancient history. Thracians resided mainly in Southeast Europe in modern-day Bulgaria, Romania and northern Greece, but also in north-western Anatolia in Turkey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kurgan</span> Tumulus in Eastern Europe

A kurgan is a type of tumulus constructed over a grave, often characterized by containing a single human body along with grave vessels, weapons and horses. Originally in use on the Pontic–Caspian steppe, kurgans spread into much of Central Asia and Eastern, Southeast, Western and Northern Europe during the 3rd millennium BC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Odrysian kingdom</span> Union of Thracian tribes and kingdoms (5th century BC to 3rd century BC)

The Odrysian kingdom was an ancient Thracian state that thrived between the early 5th century BC and the early 3rd / late 1st century BC. Located in present-day Bulgaria, southeastern Romania, northern Greece and European Turkey, it was a tribal amalgam dominated by the Odrysians that was the first large political entity to develop in the eastern Balkans. Before the foundation of Seuthopolis in the late 4th century it had no fixed capital.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Getae</span> Thracian tribe of modern northern Bulgaria and southern Romania

The Getae or Gets were a Thracian-related tribe that once inhabited the regions to either side of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria and southern Romania. Both the singular form Get and plural Getae may be derived from a Greek exonym: the area was the hinterland of Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, bringing the Getae into contact with the ancient Greeks from an early date. Although it is believed that the Getae were related to their westward neighbours, the Dacians, several scholars, especially in the Romanian historiography, posit that the Getae and the Dacians were the same people.

Dromichaetes was king of the Getae on both sides of the lower Danube around 300 BC.

Hebryzelmis was an Odrysian king of Thrace, attested as ruling in 386/385 BC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ludogorie</span> Region of northeastern Bulgaria

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thracian treasure</span> Aspect of Thracian archaeology

The Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting a large area in Central and Southeastern Europe, centred in modern Bulgaria. They were bordered by the Scythians to the north, the Celts and the Illyrians to the west, the Greeks to the south, and the Black Sea to the east.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seuthes III</span>

Seuthes III was a king of Odrysia, a part of Thrace, during the late 4th century BC.

Teres II or Teres III was a king of the Odrysians in Thrace from 351 BC to 341 BC.

Cotys II was a possible king of the Odrysians in Thrace in the late 4th or early 3rd century BC. His one secure attestation is in an inscription from Athens dated to 330 BC; the inscription honored Reboulas, brother of Cotys and son of Seuthes. This is generally interpreted to mean that Cotys, not yet king, was the son of Seuthes III by a marriage earlier than that to Berenike. Building on this interpretation of the evidence, a certain Gonimase (Gonimasē), wife of a Seuthes, buried in a tomb near Smjadovo, has been proposed as Seuthes III's earlier wife and mother of Cotys and Reboulas. However, the Athenian inscription precedes the first clear attestation of Seuthes III by about seven years, and various scholars have proposed Seuthes I, Seuthes II, and even a non-reigning Seuthes as the father of Cotys and Reboulas. One scholar conjectures that Cotys was an elder son of Seuthes III but did not live to succeed his father, dying during the siege of Callatis (Mangalia) in 310 BC. While it is likely that Cotys II was a Thracian ruler in this period, it is not possible to establish his precise relationship to Seuthes III. The overall chronology and the names suggest the possibility that Cotys II may have been the father of Raizdos and grandfather of the latter's son Cotys III.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thracian tomb of Aleksandrovo</span> Thracian burial mound

The Getic burial complex is an archaeological site near Sveshtari in Razgrad Province in Bulgaria. Various artifacts have been recovered from a Thracian tomb which dates from the beginning of the third century BC. Another tomb, the Omurtag mount, has been linked to Cothelas, king of the Getae. It is in the same area as the world heritage site Tomb of Sveshtari.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tomb of Seuthes III</span>

The Tomb of Seuthes III is located near Kazanlak, Bulgaria. Seuthes III was the King of the Odrysian Kingdom of Thrace from c. 331 to c. 300 BC and founder of the nearby Thracian city of Seuthopolis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ostrusha mound</span> Ancient burial site in Shipka, Bulgaria

The Ostrusha mound is a Thracian burial tumulus near the Bulgarian town of Shipka. It was constructed in the middle of the 4th century BCE. The stone structures under the more than 18 meters high mound form one of the biggest representative tomb-cult complexes with 6 rooms on an area of 100 square meters. It was professionally excavated in 1993.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gold wreaths from Thrace</span>

The gold wreaths from Thrace are jewellery wreaths found in inner Thrace, which is within present day Bulgaria. The gold wreaths were found in the mounds and tombs of aristocrats at various locations in Thrace that have been dated to a period from the latter half of the fourth century and early part third century BC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mogilan mound</span>

The Mogilan mound or Mogilanska mound is a burial mound in the center of Vratsa, Bulgaria.


  1. 1 2 Delev, P. (2000). "Lysimachus, the Getae, and Archaeology". The Classical Quarterly. New Series. 50 (2): 384–401. doi:10.1093/cq/50.2.384. JSTOR   1558897.
  2. Chichikova, Maria (2016). "The Hellenistic Necropolis of the Getic Capital at Sboryanovo (Northeastern Bulgaria).". In Henry, Olivier; Kelp, Ute (eds.). Tumulus as Sema: Space, Politics, Culture and Religion in the First Millennium BC. Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. pp. 243–259. ISBN   978-3-11-026750-1. OCLC   936205702.
  3. 1 2 "Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  4. "Sveshtarska Tomb". Ministry of Tourism. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  5. Archibald 1994, p. 472.
  6. Archibald 1994, pp. 467–472.
  7. 1 2 Lund 1992, p. 43.
  8. Sîrbu 2006, p. 42.
  9. Archibald 1994, p. 473.
  10. Delev 2000, pp. 396, 399.
  11. Delev 2000, p. 400.
  12. Emilov 2007, p. 63.
  13. 1 2 3 Delev 2000, p. 398.
  14. Stoyanov & Mihaylova 1996, p. 55.
  15. Stoyanov & Mihaylova 1996, pp. 55, 57.


Further reading