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Perperikon (Перперикон)


Perperikon Archeological Site is an ancient settlement located 15 km northeast of Kardzhali in the Western Rhodopes.




Location: 15 km Northeast of Kardzhali    Map

Open: 7:30am- 8pm May- Oct

Official site




Description of Perperikon Archeological Site


Perperikon Archeological Site is situated on a 470 m high rock above surrounding lands. It was inhabited by humans since at least 5000 BC. Apparently it held both religious and strategic importance. Over a centuries mountain was turned into largest megalith structure in the Balkans intended to commemorate god Sabazios (local version of Greek Dionysus). Local legend also claim that Perperikon Archeological Site is the site of Orpheus' burial place.


Several ancient historians claim that priests that lived in Perperikon could predict future for those who ventured this far from the advanced Mediterranean basin. Greek historian Herodotus stated that Persian king Xerxes visited the Perperikon mountain and talked to the oracle about his future war with the Greeks. The prediction turned out either wrong or Xerxes didn't listen to their advices.


Suetonius Tranquillus in his infamous "The Twelfth Caesars" claimed that father of Octavian Augustus was told by the local oracles that his son will rule the whole Roman Empire. Alexander the Great supposedly also visited Perperikon during his campaign in the South Bulgaria. Legend claims that his predictions of a huge empire stretching all the way to India came true.


During Roman times a large multi- story palace was constructed in Perperikon. Fortifications were rebuilt yet again. According to early Christian manuscripts Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (366-414) lived here and created a Thracian alphabet so that local tribes could read the Bible and pray in their native language. During medieval times strategic location of Perperikon changed hands between Bulgarian Kingdom and Byzantine Empire several times. It was during this period the site got its name from perpera in Bulgarian (or "hyperpyron" in Greek), a Byzantine gold coins that were left here when Bulgarian captured the fortress. It is also the reason why among Byzantines the site became known as Hyperpyrakion. Perperikon was considered and important citadel in political games as well as a seat of a local archbishop.











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