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SBORYANOVO ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX

One of the most remarkable religious and political centres is the "Sboryanovo" architectural complex, national historical and architectural reserve. It is situated in the area of Sboryanovo within the territory of the villages of Sveshtari and Malak Porovets, off the town of Isperih, among beautiful karst formations in the valley of the river Krapinets. Its planning follows the idea of harmony between nature and human construction.

In the centre of the complex, which covers about 16 000 sq km, there are a number of sanctuaries and buildings of worship.

In the periphery, in the highest places, towards the end of the 4th - middle of 3rd c. B.C. were erected over 100 Thracian burial mounds of various heights. The highest one is the Sveshtari mound - 22 m. They are grouped in a way symbolizing the Milky Way and the constellations of the Big Bear, the Little Bear, Orion, the Archer and others.

Archeological expeditions discovered stone tombs with semi-cylindrical arches and sliding doors. Some of the tombs, whose mounds have been destroyed by earthquakes about 250 B.C., were restored in antiquity. In the heart of the complex, in the grounds of the Alian monastery of Demir Baba ("the iron father"), erected in the 16th c. near the spring "Five fingers", is situated a Thracian sanctuary. Remains of it from the 4th - 1st c. B.C. are still preserved.

On the high plato of the area of Kamen Rid stands one of the earliest sanctuaries, established in the beginning of the 1st millennium B.C. and active till 4th - 3rd c. B.C. It testifies for the early Thracian roots of the Getae centre, which forms a cult complex of the Great Goddess Artemis and the sunny Apollo. The ancient tradition of the sacred place is still kept in present days.

The Sveshtari tomb was discovered in 1982 in the Ginina Mound near the village of Sveshtari, Isperih region, and is part of the Thracian cult centre "Sboryanovo". It consists of a dromos, an anteroom, central burial chamber and a side room, all covered with a semi-cylindrical arch.

The entrance is flanked with two columns and its upper section is decorated with relief garlands and bukranias (bull's heads). There are two stone beds. The ritual of deifying the dead ruler is depicted on the semi-circular wall, under the arch of the tomb. In the picturesque scene the ruler is presented on horseback, followed by two armour-bearers. A goddess faces him. She is handing him a gold wreath, which symbolized immortality and divinity. Behind the goddess are four women carrying various gifts.

The walls of the burial chamber form a colonnade. In addition to the columns, the stone blocks under the arch are supported by the stretched hands of ten female figures, called caryatides. Their hair, faces and clothing, formed like a flower cup of three acanthus leaves, are painted in various colours. The tomb is dated back to the second quarter of the 3rd c. B.C.

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