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 Siteis 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
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.