Town of the tower: Castra Martis, Kula

8 unknown Ancient Roman sites in Bulgaria you haven’t visited

You may well be aware of Bulgaria’s Ancient Roman history – after all, the Bulgarian lands were ruled by the Roman Empire for centuries. Sites like Plovdiv’s majestic Roman theatre, Varna’s huge Roman baths or Sofia’s antique churches of Hagia Sophia and Saint George are among the highlights of tourism in Bulgaria. However, the rest of the astonishing Roman ruins in Bulgaria appear to be largely forgotten.

From the (lost) longest bridge of the ancient world to a gate nowadays resembling two camels, kashkaval tourist presents 8 unknown Ancient Roman sites in Bulgaria you haven’t visited!

1. Brick masterpiece: The Red Church, Perushtitsa

Brick masterpiece: The Red Church, Perushtitsa

Brick masterpiece: The Red Church, Perushtitsa. Photo credit: Raggatt2000, Wikipedia.

A ruin standing proudly out in the open field near Perushtitsa, the Red Church (Червената църква Chervenata tsarkva) impresses with its rare solid brickwork and grand proportions – the dome of the church reached more than 14 metres in height! It is curious that the floor of this ancient basilica was decorated with mosaics, while the walls were painted. Some of the frescoes from the 5th-6th century AD were discovered during the Red Church’s restoration as recently as 2013!

2. Gorgon Medusa on the floor: Villa Armira, Ivaylovgrad

Gorgon Medusa on the floor: Villa Armira, Ivaylovgrad

Gorgon Medusa on the floor: Villa Armira, Ivaylovgrad Photo credit: Bin im Garten, Wikipedia.

Villa Armira (Вила Армира) is perhaps the best-preserved villa of a Roman aristocrat to be found in Bulgaria. Named after the little river near the town of Ivaylovgrad by it lies, Villa Armira was built as a suburban palace of a Roman noble in the 1st century AD.

The villa is most famous for its striking mosaic decoration – its floor is filled to the brim with incredible geometric, floral and animal motifs! A regular trend on Villa Armira’s mosaics is the depiction of the gorgon Medusa, so be careful and watch out not to be caught in its stare or you may turn into stone!

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