The Bishop Basilica in the ancient Philipopol is one of the biggest and important archeological objects and monuments of the culture in Europe. It has three naves, 86 meters length and 38 meters width. It is considered that the early Christian temple was the biggest and richest in the Balkans. It hides two layers and a total of nearly 2000 square meters masterful mosaic that will be exhibited in the future museum complex, which has to be opened at the beginning of 2018. There are still archeological restoration works that you can see on the spot. Go to the Catholic cathedral and just take a peek at the archeology work on its disclosure. Even with one look, you’ll become a part of an historical moment – the decipherment of its secrets. The moment is historical because the archeological and restoration work should end in 2017.
In 2016 at the Basilica was found extremely valuable and important historical inscription in Greek. It confirmed that the temple was a bishop, but also helped to significantly more accurate date – the existence of the basilica began in the 4th century AD.
The mosaics on the floor are very interesting. They occupy a total area of nearly 2000 square meters and are dyed in various bright colors, most often depict various birds. The mosaics are two layered, dating from different periods. The difference of their work and style supposed that they are made from a different craftsmans. During the actual archaeological activities the subject revealed that most likely the Bishop Basilica was destroyed by a very strong earthquake. The experts reached to these conclusions after analysis huge slopes and subsidence at the base of the temple.
At the object were also found priceless fragments of frescoes. It is assumed that the wall iconography, which depicts St. Peter is from 13-14 century. There were two pictorial layers, each of them is probably made by Constantinople master. Near the mural, archaeologists discovered donor inscription on which vividly stands out the name Abraham. It is in Byzantine-Greek and unlocks valuable historical ciphers. We can assume that the medieval church has served the necropolis. It was founded in 10-11 century.
Besides the different construction layers there are found many architectural elements - massive marble columns, capitals, syenite columns and bases, as on one of the columns has depicted a cross. This is a cheaper material and it is thought that the syenite columns were located in the eastern part of the basilica.
LOSTINPLOVDIV recommends: go see the object now, while the archeological and restoration work continues. Then, three years after return to Plovdiv to see the mosaics at the finished museum.
The projects for the Small and Bishop Basilica are implemented thanks to the generous support of the Foundation "America for Bulgaria".