The town is an excellent opportunity not only to soak in its mineral springs, but also to soak up its rich history


Hisarya (called Diocletianopol, Vetus Augusta Aria, Termeitisina, Toplitsa) has a thousand-year history. Its favorable climate and mineral waters have attracted people to these places since ancient times.

After the conquest of the province of Thrace by the Romans in 46, a large Roman settlement arose around the mineral springs. In 293, Emperor Diocletian gave it the status of a town, and since then began its fortification with massive fortress walls and the implementation of new town planning decisions. Due to its preservation and originality, the fortification system and its architecture rank among the first places in Europe.

And here is what you can enjoy during your walking tour:

Fortress wall

Diocletianopolis was surrounded by a strong fortress wall, which was built during the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305). It has the shape of an irregular quadrangle and surrounds a space of 30 hectares. The total length of the wall is 2327 m. In the 5th century, the defensive strength of the fortress on the northern side was strengthened with a second fortress wall. The city was entered through four main gates.

Fortress gates

The southern gate is of greatest architectural interest. It consists of a vaulted passage, which, however, is preceded on the outside by a larger arch supported by two pillars. It was closed with a double-winged door, bolted from the inside with a massive wooden beam. On both sides of the frontal arch, decorative niches were formed, in which statues of emperors or deities were placed. Above the arch, the entire interior facade is decorated with a brick cornice, which served as a base for a triangular pediment.

The original gate is 13 m high. They call it the Camels, because at the beginning of the 20th century the door was divided and resembled two camels standing against each other. In this place in 1882, Ivan Vazov wrote the famous Bulgarian poem "Motherland, kind, how beautiful you are!".

The northern, eastern and western gates are also preserved. The western fortress gate is located next to the modern Rusalka bath. It has been preserved in its original form to this day. The only place in the fortification system of the Roman town of Diocletianopolis where the original face masonry of the fortress wall can be seen.

Roman baths of Hisarya

The Roman Baths are located in the Momina Sulza Park. In some places, they have been preserved almost to the roof. They are one of the few famous thermal Roman baths in Europe. The entire complex covers 3000 sq. m. area. They were built in the second half of the 3rd century.

Roman barracks

The barracks complex is located on both sides of the southern fortress gate along the entire length of the southern fortress wall and part of the eastern fortress wall. The barracks are separated from each other by wide corridors, through which the fortress towers were also entered.

Their construction dates back to the second half of the 4th century, while the wall was built a little earlier. They consist of two types of premises, storage and residential, due to the thickness of their partition walls and massive vaults, it can be concluded that they were two-storeyed. It is very likely that they housed a permanent garrison of about 600 people. Exposed are those west of the southern fortress gate.

Roman amphitheater

The amphitheater was one of the most visited and favorite places for citizens during the Roman era. It was a building open on top and closed on all sides with seats arranged around an elliptical arena. The seats were wooden and were installed in the slope above the arena. On the south side was the main entrance through which the participants in the fights entered. In a special vaulted niche in front of the entrance was placed the statue of the deity (probably Nemesis), patron of the games in the amphitheater. On the north side there were three entrances from which animals were let. On the two long sides of the ellipse were the rooms for the service staff. In the amphitheater of Diocletianopolis, various spectacular performances were held - fights with gladiators and animals. After the adoption of Christianity as the official religion in 313, the amphitheater was transformed from a place for spectacles to a place for sports games.

Roman tomb

With its interior the Roman tomb is the most interesting and impressive one discovered so far in Bulgaria . It consists of a vaulted staircase corridor and a burial chamber. The walls of its chamber are painted in motifs of plant ornaments, and the floor is arranged with a multi-colored mosaic panel in a geometric ornament. In one of the niches, a wall painting of roses has been preserved in its original form, which represents one of the earliest images of the rose in today's Bulgarian lands. The two burial beds built into the chamber show that the tomb was a family one. The results of the archaeological research determine its construction in the second half of the 4th century.

Late Roman residential building

Located near the southern fortress gate, these buildings are a typical representative of Roman civil architecture of the type of Italian town houses (villa urbana). They have the structure of small mansions, with high peripheral walls enclosing their three sides and a porticoed and colonnaded entrance on the side of the main street.

Late Roman public building

It is located in Momina Sulza Park. 5 large rooms with a massive vaulted structure were revealed. The only Roman building in Hisaria with preserved walls from the second floor. It dates from the beginning of the IV century.

Roman basilicas

They are marked with numbers. Number one is the only two-nave basilica known so far in Bulgaria. Its apse is three-sided. It dates from the middle of the 5th century.

Number three is three-nave, with a three-sided apse on the outside and a semicircular one on the inside. The basilica was originally built in the second half of the 4th century. In the middle of the 5th century, it was destroyed by the Huns and in the 6th century it was rebuilt. An inscription in ancient Greek was found in the basilica, which shows that in the 6th century it was dedicated to St. Stefan. Priest Todor and his son - protector Yoan were buried in it. The inscription is in the Archaeological Museum.

Number eight is also three-nave, with a semicircular apse, narthex and baptistery. It dates from the 5th century.

Today, the impressive architectural remains of the ancient city are exposed in a suitable park environment and turned into attractive tourist sites. In this way, the archaeological heritage of the resort of Hisarya is a practical textbook on Roman and late antique archaeology.

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