Tuesday 16 March 2010

Bulgaria: Cybele Temple in Balchik to be Protected by Archaeologists

Bulgaria: Cybele Temple in Balchik to be Protected by Archaeologists


15 March 2010 | A commission of archaeologists, architects and scientists was appointed by Bulgaria’s culture minister for the protection and preservation of the unique temple of Cybele in the Black Sea town of Balchik, which dates back to the third century BC.

The temple of Cybele should receive the status of a cultural heritage site of national importance, minister of culture Vezdi Rashidov suggested, which would bring about a total ban on any construction activities in the area.

The temple of Cybele, the Phrygian deification of the Earth Mother, was discovered by accident in the spring of 2007, during a dig for the construction of a new hotel. The temple is the best preserved Hellenistic temple in Bulgaria and the only discovered temple of the Goddess Mother in the eastern part of the Balkans.

Since it was discovered, the invaluable archaeological site has been lying out in the open and no proper excavation or preservation of it has taken place, because of the local authorities’ dispute with the plot’s owner.

The newly appointed commission will define the archaeological site’s territorial borders, which will then be put into the city’s plan and where construction not connected to the site’s excavation and protection will be banned.

A protective cover over the site will also be put in place shortly, which would shield it from the environmental destruction. The need for such a cover is even more dire after a part of the site collapsed recently.

“We agree to finance the conservation of the temple as long as the Ministry of Culture gives us the legal right to claim it. If we are delayed a bit more, next year there might be no temple to conserve,” mayor of Balchik, Nikolay Angelov, told media.

The artefacts discovered at the temple so far – about 20 marble statues, most of which are of Cybele, around 20 signs mostly in Latin and almost 200 coins, testify for the religious and public life in the area in the first quarter of the fourth century AD. The temple, most likely built around 280 – 260 BC functioned for more than 700 years, before it was destructed either by earthquake or invaders.
Source: BalkanTravellers.com

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