Seuthopolis (Ancient Greek: Σευθόπολις) was an ancient hellenistic-type[1] city founded[2] by the Thracian king Seuthes III between 325–315 BC and the capital of the Odrysian kingdom.[3]

Its ruins are now located at the bottom of the Koprinka Reservoir near Kazanlak, Stara Zagora Province, in central Bulgaria.

Several kilometres north of the city is the Valley of the Thracian Rulers where many magnificent royal tombs are located.

Seuthopolis City Plan
Seuthopolis city plan

Seuthopolis was not[4] a true polis, but rather the seat of Seuthes and his court. His palace had a dual role, functioning also as a sanctuary of the Cabeiri, the gods of Samothrace.[5] Most of the space within the city was occupied not by homes but by official structures, the majority of the people living outside the city. It had Thracian and Greek populace.[6] In 281 BC it was sacked by Celts.[7]

The dual role of Seuthes' palace (royal court and sanctuary) indicates that Seuthes was a priest–king: the high priest of the Cabeiri among the Odrysian Thracians. According to Seuthopolis’ sign, the sanctuary of Dionysius/Sabazios was situated on the square.

The cemetery of Seuthopolis included a number of brick tholos tombs, some covered by tumuli, in which the upper-class were interred, sometimes along with their horses. The less affluent were cremated, with modest grave goods laid alongside.

SeuthesIII tumba Kazanlâk 0771a
Bronze head of King Seuthes III

The ruins of the city were discovered and excavated in 1948[8] by Bulgarian archeologists during the construction of the Georgi Dimitrov (later renamed Koprinka) Reservoir. However, it was decided to continue with the construction and flood the dam, leaving Seuthopolis at its bottom. Despite the importance of the discovery, the Communist Government back then gave the archaeologists 6 years to research and preserve as much of the city as they can. [9]

One of the most important archaeological finds is the so-called "Great inscription" found in 1953 in the palace-citadel. It is written in Greek, which indicates that Thracians were already hellenised in the 3rd century BC.

Seuthopolis inscription BG
The "Great Inscription", written in Greek, represents a contract between Odrys and Macedonia.

In 2005, Bulgarian architect Zheko Tilev proposed a project to uncover, preserve and reconstruct the city of Seuthopolis (the best preserved Thracian city in Bulgaria) by means of a dam wall surrounding the ruins in the middle of the dam, enabling the site's inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and making it a tourist destination of world importance. Tourists would be transported to the site by boats. The round wall, 420 metres in diameter, would enable visitors to see the city from 20 metres above and would also feature "hanging gardens", glass lifts, a quay, restaurants, cafés, shops, ateliers, etc. It would be illuminated at night.

The project was donated by the architect to Kazanlak municipality and funds are being raised to begin construction. According to Tilev, it would cost minimum 50 million.[1]

Lead serpent from Seuthopolis, Kazanlak region, Bulgaria. IV-III century BC
Lead serpent from Seuthopolis, Kazanlak region, Bulgaria.IV-III century BC.

Sevtopolis Peak on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named for Seuthopolis.

Artificial lake kazanlak
Artificial Lake of Kazanlak - Site of the Seuthopolis excavation

See also


  1. ^ Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 BC – AD 1000 by Barry W. Cunliffe, 2008,page 331,""... The most sophisticated was the capital, Seuthopolis, founded by the Odrysian king Seuthes III in c.32o BC. The town was laid out entirely in the style of a Hellenistic city...""
  2. ^ A History of the Hellenistic World: 323 - 30 BC R. Malcolm Errington, 2008," founding a city which he named after himself, Seuthopolis (SEG 42, 661). ..."
  3. ^ An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen,2005,page 1336,"Seuthopolis founded c.325-315"
  4. ^ An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen,2005,page 888,"It was meant to be a polis but this was no reason to think that it was anything other than a native settlement"
  5. ^ The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (eds. Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland McAllister),A Thracian city near the village of Koprinka. It was founded at the end of the 4th c. B.C. by Seuthes III. The large quantity of material discovered during the excavation has shown that Seuthopolis was not only a center of production, but also of commerce. The city rises on a terrace circumscribed on three sides by the Tundza and by one of its tributaries. It was a fortified city of ca. 5 ha with a pentagonal circuit wall 2 m thick and 890 m in perimeter, with a quadrangular tower at each angle. At the N, between two towers, is the principal gate; and at the south are two gates between bastions. The wall is constructed of clay bricks and wood on stone foundations. The city's orthogonal plan is regular, with two large arteries that lead from the gates to the center. The agora is in the NW sector. In the NE zone is a walled and towered trapezoidal area within which is enclosed the palace of the prince and the Sanctuary of the Great Gods of Samothrace. In the houses, which are built with rooms around a court, has been found a type of plaster. Elements of porticos have been found and upper galleries of wood. The houses were furnished with wells and drainage systems with a channel in the center of the street. The influence of Hippodamos is evident, though the democratic distribution of living quarters is lacking. Seuthes III built his city on the site of an earlier settlement, and he also followed the Hellenistic fashion of the Diadochi in giving it his own name. Greek influence is prevalent in the urban elements cited and in decoration such as antefixes, stucco, and incrustation, and in the use of the Doric capital
  6. ^ An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation by Mogens Herman Hansen,2005,page 888
  7. ^ The Ancient Celts by Barry W. Cunliffe,ISBN 0-14-025422-6,2000,page 172
  8. ^ The Hellenistic Settlements in Europe, the Islands, and Asia Minor by Getzel M. Cohen,1996," The existence of Seuthopolis in Thrace was not known until 1948"
  9. ^ Explore the Valley of Thracian Kings – Bulgaria’s Thracian Heritage

External links

Coordinates: 42°37′05″N 25°18′20″E / 42.61806°N 25.30556°E

Apollodorus (painter)

Apollodorus Skiagraphos (Greek: Ἀπολλόδωρος ὁ σκιαγράφος) was an influential Ancient Greek painter of the 5th century BC whose work has since been entirely lost. Apollodorus left a technique behind known as skiagraphia, a way to easily produce shadow, that affected the works not only of his contemporaries but also of later generations. This shading technique uses hatched areas to give the illusion of both shadow and volume.


In Greek mythology, the Cabeiri or Cabiri (Ancient Greek: Κάβειροι, Kábeiroi), also transliterated Kabiri , were a group of enigmatic chthonic deities. They were worshiped in a mystery cult closely associated with that of Hephaestus, centered in the north Aegean islands of Lemnos and possibly Samothrace—at the Samothrace temple complex—and at Thebes. In their distant origins the Cabeiri and the Samothracian gods may include pre-Greek elements, or other non-Greek elements, such as Thracian, Tyrrhenian, Pelasgian, Phrygian or Hittite. The Lemnian cult was always local to Lemnos, but the Samothracian mystery cult spread rapidly throughout the Greek world during the Hellenistic period, eventually initiating Romans.

The ancient sources disagree about whether the deities of Samothrace were Cabeiri or not; and the accounts of the two cults differ in detail. But the two islands are close to each other, at the northern end of the Aegean, and the cults are at least similar, and neither fits easily into the Olympic pantheon: the Cabeiri were given a mythic genealogy as sons of Hephaestus and Cabeiro. The accounts of the Samothracian gods, whose names were secret, differ in the number and sexes of the gods: usually between two and four, some of either sex. The number of Cabeiri also varies, with some accounts citing four (often a pair of males and a pair of females), and some even more, such as a tribe or whole race of Cabeiri, often presented as all male.The Cabeiri were also worshipped at other sites in the vicinity, including Seuthopolis in Thrace and various sites in Asia Minor. According to Strabo, Cabeiri are most honored in Imbros and Lemnos but also in other cities too.


Hellenization or Hellenisation is the historical spread of ancient Greek culture, religion and, to a lesser extent, language, over foreign peoples conquered by Greeks or brought into their sphere of influence, particularly during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC. The result of Hellenization was that elements of Greek origin combined in various forms and degrees with local elements; these Greek influences spread from the Mediterranean basin as far east as modern-day Pakistan. In modern times, Hellenization has been associated with the adoption of modern Greek culture and the ethnic and cultural homogenization of Greece.

History of Turkey

See History of the Republic of Turkey for the history of the modern state.The history of Turkey, understood as the history of the region now forming the territory of the Republic of Turkey, includes the history of both Anatolia (the Asian part of Turkey) and Eastern Thrace (the European part of Turkey).

For times predating the Ottoman period, a distinction must be made between the history of the Turkish peoples, and the history of the territories now forming the Republic of Turkey, essentially the histories of ancient Anatolia and Thrace.The name Turkey is derived from Middle Latin Turchia, i.e. the "land of the Turks", historically referring to an entirely different territory of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which fell under the control of Turkic peoples in the early medieval period.

From the time when parts of what is now Turkey was conquered by Turks, the history of Turkey spans the medieval history of the Seljuk Empire, the medieval to modern history of the Ottoman Empire, and the history of the Republic of Turkey since the 1920s.

Hydroelectricity in Bulgaria

Hydroelectricity is a major form of energy supply in Bulgaria. The country's HEP stations have over a quarter of the country's entire installed capacity for electricity production (2 713 MW of a total of 9 728 MW, or 27.9%) (p. 11)(p. 32), and in 2010 they provided 10.2% of the country's total supply (4 224 GWh of a total of 41 570 GWh).(p. 32)(p. 32)The 15 largest HEP stations, all owned by the state-run National Electricity Company, account for 97% of the country's HEP installed capacity and produce 94% of all HEP power.(p. 12,p. 32) They are arranged in four series, or "cascades", of between 3 and 5 reservoirs, and all are located in the Rhodope mountains in Southwestern Bulgaria. Three of the stations are pumped-storage stations ("PS-HPP").(p. 14)

NEK also owns and looks after several large dams which are either used for providing fresh water only, to store water for HPPs downriver, or else have provided HEP power in the past but have ceased to do so.(p. 15-17) These include –

There is also a project for an "Upper Arda Cascade", which has been delayed due to complications. This cascade should include three HPPs at Madan, Ardino and Kitnitsa.


Kazanlak (Bulgarian: Казанлъ̀к, Kazanlǎk, Thracian and Greek Σευθόπολις (Seuthopolis) is a Bulgarian town in Stara Zagora Province, located in the middle of the plain of the same name, at the foot of the Balkan mountain range, at the eastern end of the Rose Valley. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Kazanlak Municipality.

The town is among the 15 biggest industrial centres in Bulgaria, with a population of 44,760 people as of Dec 2017.It is the center of rose oil extraction in Bulgaria and the oil-producing rose of Kazanlak is one of the most widely recognizable national symbols.

Koprinka Reservoir

Koprinka (Bulgarian: Копринка) is a reservoir and dam in the Rose Valley, central Bulgaria.

Its construction began after 1944 and was finished in 1956. It was built on the Tundzha river at 7 km to the west of the city of Kazanlak near the village of Koprinka. It is situated at 300 m to the south of the main sub-Balkan road between the capital Sofia and Burgas. The reservoir is around 7 km in length and covers an area of 11.2 km². The depth varies between 44 and 78 metres. The shores are rugged with many branches and bays.

List of ancient cities in Thrace and Dacia

This is a list of ancient cities, towns, villages, and fortresses in and around Thrace and Dacia. A number of these settlements were Dacian and Thracian, but some were Celtic, Greek, Roman, Paeonian, or Persian.

A number of cities in Dacia and Thrace were built on or close to the sites of preexisting Dacian or Thracian settlements. Some settlements in this list may have a double entry, such as the Paeonian Astibo and Latin Astibus. It is believed that Thracians did not build true cities even if they were named as such; the largest Thracian settlements were large villages. The only known attempt to build a polis by the Thracians was Seuthopolis., although Strabo considered the Thracian cities with "bria" ending polises. Some of the Dacian settlements and fortresses employed the traditional Murus Dacicus construction technique.

Note: Throughout these lists, an asterisk [*] indicates that the toponym is reconstructed.

List of political entities in the 1st century

Political entities in the 1st century BC – Political entities in the 2nd century – Political entities by yearThis is a list of political entities that existed between 1 AD and 100 AD.

List of political entities in the 1st century BC

Political entities in the 2nd century BC – Political entities in the 1st century – Political entities by yearThis is a list of political entities that existed between 100 BC and 1 BC.

Odrysian kingdom

The Odrysian Kingdom (; Ancient Greek: Βασίλειον Ὀδρυσῶν; Latin: Regnum Odrysium) was a state union of over 40 Thracian tribes and 22 kingdoms that existed between the 5th century BC and the 1st century AD. It consisted mainly of present-day Bulgaria, spreading to parts of Southeastern Romania (Northern Dobruja), parts of Northern Greece and parts of modern-day European Turkey.

It is suggested that the kingdom had no capital. Instead, the kings may have moved between residences. A capital was the city of Odryssa (assumed to be Uscudama, modern Edirne), as inscribed on coins. Another royal residence believed to have been constructed by Cotys I (383-358 BC) is in the village of Starosel, while in 315 BC Seuthopolis was built as a capital. An early capital was Vize. The kingdom broke up and Kabyle was a co-capital by the end of the 4th century BC.


The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon (also Perpericon; Bulgarian: Перперикон, Greek: Περπερικόν) is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria, on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place. The village of Gorna Krepost ("Upper Fortress") is located at the foot of the hill and the gold-bearing Perpereshka River flows nearby. Perperikon is the largest megalith ensemble site in the Balkans.


Polis (; Greek: πόλις pronounced [pólis]), plural poleis (, πόλεις [póleːs]) literally means city in Greek. It can also mean a body of citizens. In modern historiography, polis is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, and thus is often translated as "city-state". These cities consisted of a fortified city centre (asty) built on an acropolis or harbor and controlled surrounding territories of land (khôra).

The Ancient Greek city-state developed during the Archaic period as the ancestor of city, state, and citizenship and persisted (though with decreasing influence) well into Roman times, when the equivalent Latin word was civitas, also meaning "citizenhood", while municipium applied to a non-sovereign local entity. The term "city-state", which originated in English (alongside the German Stadtstaat), does not fully translate the Greek term. The poleis were not like other primordial ancient city-states like Tyre or Sidon, which were ruled by a king or a small oligarchy, but rather political entities ruled by their bodies of citizens. The traditional view of archaeologists—that the appearance of urbanization at excavation sites could be read as a sufficient index for the development of a polis—was criticised by François Polignac in 1984 and has not been taken for granted in recent decades: the polis of Sparta, for example, was established in a network of villages. The term polis, which in archaic Greece meant "city", changed with the development of the governance center in the city to signify "state" (which included its surrounding villages). Finally, with the emergence of a notion of citizenship among landowners, it came to describe the entire body of citizens. The ancient Greeks did not always refer to Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and other poleis as such; they often spoke instead of the Athenians, Lacedaemonians, Thebans and so on. The body of citizens came to be the most important meaning of the term polis in ancient Greece.

The Greek term that specifically meant the totality of urban buildings and spaces is asty (ἄστυ).

Seuthes III

Seuthes III (Ancient Greek: Σεύθης) was ruler of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from c. 331 BC to c. 300 BC.

Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak (Bulgarian: Казанлъшка гробница, Kazanlǎška grobnica) is a vaulted-brickwork "beehive" (tholos) tomb near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria.

The tomb is part of a large royal Thracian necropolis in the Valley of the Thracian Rulers near their ancient capital of Seuthopolis in a region where more than a thousand tombs of kings and members of the Thracian aristocracy can be found.

It comprises a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The monument dates back to the 4th century BCE and has been on the UNESCO protected World Heritage Site list since 1979. The murals are memorable for the splendid horses and for a gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other's wrists in a moment of tenderness and equality (according to Lyudmila Zhivkova—a view that is not shared by all specialists). The paintings are Bulgaria's best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period .

To preserve the sensitive paintings, the tomb is not open to the public; a full-size replica was built nearby.The seated woman of the murals is depicted on the reverse of the Bulgarian 50 stotinki coin issued in 2005.

Thracian warfare

The history of Thracian warfare spans from the 10th century BC up to the 1st century AD in the region defined by Ancient Greek and Latin historians as Thrace. It concerns the armed conflicts of the Thracian tribes and their kingdoms in the Balkans. Apart from conflicts between Thracians and neighboring nations and tribes, numerous wars were recorded among Thracian tribes.


The Thracians (; Ancient Greek: Θρᾷκες Thrāikes; Latin: Thraci) were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting a large area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family. The study of Thracians and Thracian culture is known as Thracology.

Tomb of Seuthes III

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.

It is one of the most elaborate tombs in the Valley of the Thracian Rulers.

Valley of the Thracian Rulers

The Valley of the Thracian Rulers is a popular name which was made public by the archaeologist Georgi Kitov and describes the extremely high concentration and variety of monuments of the Thracian culture in the Kazanlak Valley. It is believed that there are over 1500 funeral mounds in the region, with only 300 being researched so far.The Kazanlak Tomb was discovered in 1944. Between 1948 and 1954 the ancient town of Seuthopolis was studied. Between the 1960s and the 1980s people made researches of the mound necropolis which belonged to residents of Sevtopolis. Another two brick tombs were found there. The Maglizh and Kran tombs were discovered in 1965. The 60s also marked the research of Thracian tombs from the Roman era in the regions of the villages of Tulovo and Dabovo, made by Prof. L. Getov. During the 70s M. Domaradski, Ph. D., researched a habitation and its surrounding necropolis in the Atanastsa region, village of Tazha.

The period between 1992 and 2006, with short interruptions, marked the research made by Senior Research associate G. Kitov, Ph. D., and the expedition TEMR (Thracian Expedition for Mound Research) led by him. As a result of their activity over 200 mounds, which represent funeral practices of the Thracians during the Iron and Roman Eras in the Kazanlak Valley, were studied. Among all the monuments one can distinguish over 15 tombs in a different stage of preservation, 3 masonry graves, a lot of rich funerals, etc.

In recent years, work by archaeologists has been going on successfully with the research of tombs near the villages of Dolno Izvorovo and Buzovgrad.


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