The Thracian Treasures of Bulgaria

The Panagyurishte Treasure was discovered on December 8, 1949 by three brothers near the town of Panagyurishte, 100 km east of Sofia and 80 km north of Plovdiv. It comprises nine 24-karat gold vessels that weigh approximately 7 kilograms: an amphora, a phiale and seven rhytons. According to experts this set was handcrafted by skillful goldsmiths sometime in the 4th-3rd centuries BC and is believed to have belonged to Seuthes III, a Thracian king who ruled in the period 331 BC - 300 BC. The most important feature of these vessels is their exquisite decoration: they all depict mythical and traditional scenes characteristic of the Thracian civilization. Due to its huge historical significance today the treasure has become one of the most famous travelling Bulgarian exhibitions. The Thracian section of the National Museum of History in Sofia is generally regarded as its home, so this is where you can see it, provided that it is not on tour.

In 1985, while trying to dig a well in his back yard, tractor driver Ivan Dimitrov from Rogozen, a small village located 160 km north of Sofia, stumbled upon one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever made on the territory of the country – the Rogozen Treasure. It includes 108 phiales, 55 jugs and 3 goblets and happens to be the biggest treasure found in Bulgaria so far. All the objects are made of silver and are richly adorned. Some of them are even covered with gilt. Judging by their varied decorations and shapes, archaeologists claim that they date back to the period 5th-4th centuries BC. When it is not on tour, the large bulk of the treasure is exhibited in the Regional Historical Museum of Vratsa. Another 20 vessels are displayed in the National Museum of History in the country’s capital city.

The biggest gold treasure in Bulgaria was found in 1925 in the village of Valchetran near Pleven, 160 km northeast of Sofia, by two brothers who were hoeing their vineyard. The archaeological finding consists of 13 objects and weighs 12.5 kg. Nowadays it is kept in the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia and is highly regarded as one of its most valuable exhibits. The collection includes various vessels such as platters, jugs, cups and bowls. The scientists who studied them share the opinion that they were made at the end of the Bronze Age (13th century BC).
The oldest gold treasure in the world was discovered in the Varna Necropolis just outside the coastal city of Varna. It dates back to 5000 BC and consists of over three thousand different artifacts. Many prominent Bulgarian and foreign archaeologists have analysed it and they all agree that it is one of the most groundbreaking historical discoveries of all time. Needless to say, it is a touring exhibition now which has been shown in countries all over the world, including Canada, Italy, Germany, France and Israel. Even National Geographic Magazine wrote about it. When it is not exhibited abroad, the treasure is split in two halves that are kept in the Varna Archaeological Museum and the National Historical Museum in Sofia, respectively.