Bulgaria’s Kardzhali to Hold 15th Edition of International Festival at Ancient, Medieval Rock City Perperikon

Bulgaria’s Kardzhali to Hold 15th Edition of International Festival at Ancient, Medieval Rock City Perperikon

The ruins of the Ancient Thracian megalithic, Roman, Early Byzanine, and medieval Bulgarian city of Perperikon near Kardzhali. Photo: Haskovo Tourist Information Center

The ruins of the Ancient Thracian megalithic, Roman, Early Byzanine, and medieval Bulgarian city of Perperikon near Kardzhali. Photo: Haskovo Tourist Information Center

The 15th edition of the International Arts Festival “Perperikon” is kicking off on Friday, June 26, 2015, at the ancient and medieval rock fortress of Perperikon and in the southern Bulgarian city of Kardzhali in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains.

The program of the 15th edition of the Perperikon Festival is going to focus solely on the Ancient Thracian, Roman, Early Byzantine, and medieval Bulgarian rock city of Perperikon, which is one of the most popular archaeological, historical, and cultural attractions in Bulgaria.

“This 15th edition will concentrate entirely on the ancient city. The visitors and guests will have the chance to experience a journey through all ages that left their mark on the rock city of the Ancient Thracians – from Thracian and Roman times until the Middle Ages," explains the Director of the Perperikon Festival Petar Slavchov, as cited by Darik Radio Kardzhali.

In addition to the musical and arts performances, the Perperikon Festival will feature a wide range of historical reenactments such as Thracian and Roman fighting techniques, and crafts and arts from the Middle Ages.

In September 2014, the local authorities in Kardzhali completed an EU funded project for excavations and improvement of the tourist infrastructure of the prehistoric, ancient, and medieval rock city of Perperikon which was worth a total of BGN 3.7 million (app. EUR 1.9 million).

In addition to the Bulgarian government funding for the 2015 summer excavations of Perperikon by Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov, additional funding will be invested in the archaeological site from the EEA and Norway development mechanism. Kardzhali Municipality recently won an EEA/Norway grant for the partial restoration of Perperikon, which is worth EUR 748,203.

The project entitled “Perperikon – Past for the Future" provides for the restoration and exhibition of a total of 11 structures: 3 altars, 4 residential buildings, a water tank, the fortress wall of the Perperikon acropolis with 2 bastions, a polygonal fortress tower, and streets in the ancient and medieval city.

The ruins of the Ancient Thracian megalithic, Roman, Early Byzanine, and medieval Bulgarian city of Perperikon near Kardzhali. Photo: Haskovo Tourist Information Center

The ruins of the Ancient Thracian megalithic, Roman, Early Byzanine, and medieval Bulgarian city of Perperikon near Kardzhali. Photo: Haskovo Tourist Information Center

Background Infonotes:

Perperikon (also called Perperek or Perperik) is an ancient rock city located in the Rhodope Mountains in Southern Bulgaria, 15 km away from the city of Kardzhali. It is a large-scale archaeological complex including historical monuments from different ages. Those include a megalithic sanctuary dating back to the Neolithic Age, the 6th millennium BC, a Bronze Age settlement, and a holy rock city established by the Ancient Thracians later taken over by the Romans, Goths, and Byzantines, respectively. In the Middle Ages, especially during the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD), it was the site of a strong fortress and a royal palace that Bulgaria and Byzantium fought over numerous times. Perperikon has been excavated since 2000 by Bulgarian archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov who has found evidence that the mythical ancient Temple of Dionysius was located there. The rock city and fortress at Perperikon, not unlike the vast majority of the medieval Bulgarian fortresses, were destroyed by the invading Ottoman Turks in the 14th century.