Silver Thracian Chariot Decorations, Gold Leaves Found in Forgotten Town Hall Chest in Bulgaria’s Strelcha
Gold and silver Ancient Thracian archaeological artifacts and five unknown paintings of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, one of the most renowned Bulgarian painters from the 20th century, have been found in a long-locked chest in the town hall in the town of Strelcha in Southern Bulgaria.
The precious archaeological and art items have been discovered by Strelcha Mayor Ivan Evstatiev, after he decided to find out what was inside the old chest in town hall building, and none of the municipal employees knew anything about its contents, reports the Bulgarian state news agency BTA.
When the chest was finally opened, inside it Evstatiev found 31 silver decorations from an Ancient Thracian chariot discovered in 1976 by late Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov (1943-2008) in one of the largest Thracian tumuli (burial mounds) in Bulgaria known as Zhaba Mogila (Frog’s Mound).
The four-wheeled chariot was found by Kitov in Zhaba Mogila together with the skeletons of three horses and over 50 silver decorations which belonged to the aristocrat buried inside the tomb, which dates back to the 5th-4th century BC.
In addition to the silver chariot applications, the long-forgotten chest in the Strelcha town hall also contained two golden olive leaves and a golden fruit which were part of a Thracian golden laurel wreath discovered by accident in 1959 in a burial mound in a nearby area called “Orela” (“The Eagle”).
There are hypotheses that the golden laurel wreath in question and the silver chariot decorations were made by the same Ancient Thracian jewelers.
The other cultural gems found in the forgotten chest are five unknown oil paintings of one of the classical Bulgarian painters Zlatyu Boyadzhiev (1903-1976).
These are landscape paintings with dimensions 50 x 55 cm, and were painted by Boyadzhiev in 1952-1954 when he visited the town of Strelcha on holidays. They were given by him as a present to Strelcha Municipality. One of the paintings is especially intriguing because it is painted on both sides.
Both the Ancient Thracian gold and silver artifacts and the Zlatyu Boyadzhiev paintings will be made part of the permanent collections of the Strelcha Museum of History.
Strelcha Municipality is especially enthusiastic about promoting the Thracian tomb at Zhaba Mogila (Frog’s Mound) as a site for cultural tourism, including by seeking a UNESCO World Heritage status for it.
One of the artifacts found in Zhaba Mogila in the 1970s – a 5th-4th century BC lion relief, which is part of the collection of the National Museum of History in Sofia, was recently exhibited in the Louvre Museum in Paris as part of Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian exhibition.