Bulgaria’s Most Famous Thracian Treasure, the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure, to ‘Return to Home Town’ after Two-Year Lapse

A vessel from the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure demonstrating the stunning craftsmanship of the Ancient Thracian goldsmiths. Photo: Panagyurishte Museum of History

A vessel from the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure demonstrating the stunning craftsmanship of the Ancient Thracian goldsmiths. Photo: Panagyurishte Museum of History

The original of the most famous of all of Bulgaria’s treasures from Ancient Thrace, the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure, is to “return" to its “home town", Panagyurishte, Plovdiv District, for a two-month exhibition.Discovered by accident in 1949 by three brothers – Pavel, Petko and Michail Deikov, who worked together at the region of Merul tile factory near the town of Panagyurishte, the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure has been featured in hundreds of exhibitions all over the world since the 1950s.

As per an agreement signed by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture, the National Museum of History in Sofia, and the Panagyurishte Museum of History, the original of the world-famous gold treasure is supposed to be on display in its “home town" for one month every year.

In 2015, however, its exhibition in Panagyurishte was skipped because all or some of its artifacts were showcased in two major international exhibitions abroad:

Because of that, in 2016, the Panagyurishte Museum of History is now going to host the original of the Thracian treasure for two whole months, between July 1 and August 31, 2016, Panagyurishte Municipality has announced.

Ancient mythology scenes depicted on the vessels of the Panagyurishte Treasure: (left) wisdom goddess Athena; (right) Thesius fighting the Cretan (Marathonian) Bull. Photos: Panagyurishte Museum of History

Ancient mythology scenes depicted on the vessels of the Panagyurishte Treasure: (left) wisdom goddess Athena; (right) Theseus fighting the Cretan (Marathonian) Bull. Photos: Panagyurishte Museum of History

The Museum in Panagyurishte and the National Museum of History in Sofia each possess gold replicas of the treasure which are exhibited while the original tours the world.

The latest exact gold replicas of the Panagyurishte Treasure were produced in 2012 as part of a donation by Panagyurishte-based copper mining company Asarel Medet which also include the construction of an exhibition hall with increased security in the local museum.

Panagyurishte Municipality says that during the previous exhibition of the gold treasure’s original in the town’s museum, “the Thracian masterpiece was admired by thousands of tourists from Bulgaria and abroad".

It also points out that in addition to the Panagyurishte Museum of History and its archaeological and historical collections, the visitors of Panagyurishte can also enjoy the town’s other cultural landmarks such as the Bulgarian architecture from the National Revival Period (18th-19th century).

The town is especially known as the capital of the Bulgarians’ April Uprising against the Ottoman Turkish Empire in April-May 1876.

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The special exhibition hall for the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure in the Panagyurishte Museum of History. Photo: Panagyurishte Museum of History

The special exhibition hall for the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure in the Panagyurishte Museum of History. Photo: Panagyurishte Museum of History

The three brothers who discovered the treasure by accident in 1949 posing with their finds. Photo: Panagyurishte Museum of History

The three brothers, Pavel, Petko and Mihail, who discovered the treasure by accident in 1949 posing with their finds. Photo: Panagyurishte Museum of History

Background Infonotes:

The Ancient Thracians were an ethno-cultural group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting much of Southeast Europe from about the middle of the second millennium BC to about the 6th century AD on the territory of modern-day Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia.

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The Odrysian Kingdom, a union of Thracian tribes dominated by the tribe of the Odrysians (also known as Odrysea or Odrysai bearing the name of a mythical ruler, Odryses or Odrisis, (ca. 715 – ca. 650 AD)), was one of the two most powerful states of the Ancient Thracians. It existed from the unification of many Thracian tribes by a single ruler, King Teres, in the 5th century BC till its conquest by the Romans in 46 AD on the territory of most of modern-day Bulgaria, Northern Greece, Southeastern Romania, and Northwestern Turkey.

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The Panagyurishte Treasure, also known as the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure, was found in 1949 by three brothers – Pavel, Petko and Mihail Deikovi, who worked together near the Merul tile factory in the town of Panagyurishte, Plovdiv District, in Southern Bulgaria.

The treasure consists of a phial, an amphora and seven rhyta with a combined total weight of 6.164 kg of 23-karat gold. All of the artifacts are richly decorated with scenes from the Thracian mythology, customs and life. It is dated to the 4th-3rd centuries BC, and is thought to have been used as a royal ceremonial set by the Thracian king Seuthes III (r. ca. 331-ca. 300 BC).