Millions of steps and hundreds of years were required to leave these traces on the marble steps. What do we actually know of this architectural and artistic jewel of the Ancient Thrace, which has brought delight to its citizens for morethan 400 years? Rome bears the legacy of the older cultures in its inheritance of the place, and in the theatre’s architecture. The Ancient Theatre was indeed built in the year 117 AD, although it resembles Hellenistic and Asia Minor models.
In the summer of 1968 a bunch of kids playing outside in a field dug at random and found out the remains of an antique theatre. The archaeologist Lilia Botusharova began its excavation that continued until 1984. Despite the excellent restauration executed by architect Vera Kolarova, the data of the archaeo. logical research have not been published. An irreversible damage was inflicted. Our research starts literally from the scratch.
Rome evaluated the merit of Philippopolis and made it principal city of provincia Thracia. After the mid-first century AD the city was granted the right to mint its own bronze coins. The city, reconstructed magnificently at that most brilliant period of its eternal existence, included a new forum, theatre, stadium, odeum, temples and municipal buildings. This greatest city in present Bulgarian territory, was surrounded with strong fortifications, had its impressive aqueduct, large paved streets and imposing monuments.
Few are the towns that have ever arisen such an ebullient description like the one spelled out by Lucian – the most remarkable author. But the foreign writers remain only observers, however well they know their subject. Fortunately, the voice of the local citizens can be heard thanks to the literacy which finally conquered and here. Their thoughts, beliefs and feelings became immortal through hundreds of inscriptions on stone. They entrusted everything to the stone – state documents, eulogies for the rulers, vows to the Gods and epitaphs.