Kaliakra Cape Fortress near Bulgaria’s Black Sea Resort Kavarna Growing Ever More Popular with Tourists

A view of the picturesque Kaliakra Cape in Northeast Bulgaria which harbored a major city in the Antiquity and Middle Ages. Photo: Video grab from Bulgariaotvisiko.com ("Bulgaria from Above")

A view of the picturesque Kaliakra Cape in Northeast Bulgaria which harbored a major city in the Antiquity and Middle Ages. Photo: Video grab from Bulgariaotvisiko.com (“Bulgaria from Above”)

The Kaliakara Cape Fortress, which is located on the picturesque Black Sea cape of the same name in Northeast Bulgaria, has been attracting a growing number of local and foreign tourists, with the local authorities in Kavarna Municipality now trying to promote more archaeological and historical landmarks in the area.

The fortress on the picturesque Kaliakra Cape has been a major stronghold throughout all historical periods ever since the Ancient Thracians first inhabited the site in the 4th century BC. Today, it is one of Bulgaria’s best known cultural attractions in combination with the beautiful Black Sea coast scenery.

In the first nine months of 2016, Kavarna Municipality, which recently decided to ask the Bulgarian government for management rights over the Kaliakra Cape Fortress to develop it further as a cultural tourism site, generated a total of BGN 440,000 (app. EUR 220,000) in revenue from admission tickets for the site alone.

This is a substantial increase compared with the 2015 results when the ticket revenues for the entire year amounted to BGN 298,909 (app. EUR 150,000), and has surpassed the projection of BGN 350,000 (app. EUR 175,000) for all of 2016, reports local news site Top Novini Dobrich citing Kavarna Mayor Nina Stavreva.

“[The Kaliakra Archaeological Preserve] is the site which generates the greatest interest [among tourists]. The other is the Yailata Archaeological Preserve," Stavreva is quoted as saying.

The Yailata Archaeological Preserve which is located along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, to the north of Cape Kaliakra, features archaeological and historical monuments from different time periods, from the 5th millennium BC until the middle of the 11th century AD, including an Early Byzantine fortress whose archaeological restoration has been notoriously botched.

The increase in the number of tourists visiting Kaliakra and Yailata, especially in the number of Romanians among the foreign tourists, was noted as early as May 2016.

Meanwhile, the 2016 summer archaeological excavations have resulted in the latest notable find from the Kaliakra Fortress: a 14th century gold coin of Byzantine Emperors Andronicus II Palaeologus and Michael IX Palaeologus.

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A view of the outer and inner city of the Kaliakra Cape Fortress. Photo: Video grab from Bulgariaotvisiko.com ("Bulgaria from Above")

A view of the outer city of the Kaliakra Cape Fortress, with the inner city gate visible in the background. Photo: Video grab from Bulgariaotvisiko.com (“Bulgaria from Above”)

The layout of the Kaliakra Fortress on Cape Kaliakra in Northeast Bulgaria, with its three fortress walls. Map: Kandi, Wikipedia

The layout of the Kaliakra Fortress on Cape Kaliakra in Northeast Bulgaria, with its three fortress walls. Map: Kandi, Wikipedia

The Kavarna Mayor has emphasized that her administration is intent on developing and promoting as a cultural tourism site the ruins of the ancient city of Byzone / medieval Karnava, the predecessors of today’s Kavarna, located on Cape Chirakman (also known as “Ognen Nos" – “Fiery Cape") in the bay of Kavarna.

The archaeological excavations of the ancient and medieval city on Cape Chirakman were resumed this summer for the first time in 10 years, and resulted in a wide range of exciting finds.

“Nobody had set foot there for 10 years. We have cleaned up the road [leading up to it], we have done a lot. We intend to turn it into an attraction," Stavreva says.

“[We intend] to set up an eco trail to Cape Chirakman. It is not a difficult walk, and the view from up there is worth it," she adds.

Byzone (Bizone) was an Ancient Thracian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine port and fortress, later the medieval Bulgarian city of Karnava (Kavarna) located on the Black Sea Cape Chirakman, also called Ognen Nos (“Fiery Cape”), close to the Kaliakra Cape Fortress (Tirizis, Acra).

Among other things, the ancient and medieval city on Cape Chirakman in Bulgaria’s Kavarna is notable because in the second half of the 1st century BC, a major earthquake caused the front part of the cape to “break off” and collapse into the Black Sea, bringing down much of Byzone, including what may have been the city’s richest quarter.

What is more, judging from finds from the Roman period, underwater archaeology researchers have found evidence that the city may have “collapsed further” into the Black Sea a second time, in the 2nd century AD.

Learn more about the history of the Kaliakra Cape Fortress, the Yailata Fortress and Preserve, and Byzone / Karnava / Kavarna in the Background Infonotes below!

The Mayor of Kavarna also says her administration would like to expand its package with cultural and natural attractions with other landmarks such as a nearby place called Valley of the Golden Orioles, which is to be developed as a bird watching destination.

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A view of the inner city of the Kavarna Cape Fortress and its gate. Photo: Video grab from Bulgariaotvisiko.com ("Bulgaria from Above")

A view of the inner city of the Kavarna Cape Fortress and its gate. Photo: Video grab from Bulgariaotvisiko.com (“Bulgaria from Above”)

Background Infonotes:

The Kaliakra Fortress is located on Cape Kaliakra on the Black Sea coast in Northeast Bulgaria (the region known as Dobrudzha). Cape Kaliakra is a 2 km long narrow headland towering about 70 meters above the sea level. The Kaliakra Fortress is part of the Kaliakra Archaeological Preserve, whereas the cape, the coast, and their hinterland are a nature preserve, home to rare birds and fish. It is located in Kavarna Municipality, near the towns of Kavarna, Balgarevo, and Sveti Nikola (St. Nicholas).

The earliest traces of human settlement on the territory of Cape Kaliakra and the Kaliakra Fortress date back to the 4th century BC when the region was inhabited by the Ancient Thracian tribe Tirizi or Tirici, a subgroup of the Getae (Gets); respectively, the earliest known name of the settlement was Tirizis (Tirissa in Latin). The name “Kaliakra” is believed to come from the Byzantine period and is translated from Greek as meaning “beautiful headland” (or “beautiful fortress”).

Ancient Greek geographer Strabo (64 BC – ca. 24 AD) wrote that Kaliakra was the capital of Lysimachus (r. 306-281 BC), one of Alexander I the Great’s generals, and one of his diadochi (successors) who became King of Macedon, Thrace, and Asia Minor, and used the caves of Cape Kaliakra to hide treasures that he amassed during the campaigns against Persia.

The first fortifications on Cape Kaliakra were built by the Ancient Thracians, with a second fortress wall added during the Hellenistic Period (3rd-1st century BC). Another expansion of the Kaliakra Fortress was made during the Roman Period. By the middle of the 4th century AD, the fortress already had an inner and outer city, with round fortress towers built in 341-342 AD. A third and stiller outer fortress wall was built in the second half of the 4th century AD. It was 10 meters tall about almost 3 meters wide.

According to 6th century AD Byzantine geographer Hierocles (author of the Synecdemus), in the 5th-6th century, the Kaliakra Fortress was a major stronghold of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire against the barbarian peoples invading from the north.

In 513 AD, Kaliakra was the site of a battle between the forces of Byzantine general Vitalian (d. 520), a native of the city of Zaldapa (in today’s Krushari Municipality in Northeast Bulgaria) and Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus (r. 491-518 AD). Vitalian’s rebellion grew into a 5-year civil war.

At the end of the 7th century, the region of the Kaliakra Fortress was conquered by the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680-1018 AD). Sources from the 10th century mention the fortress with the Slavic name Tetrasida.

The earliest Western European source to mention the Kaliakra Fortress is a map by Italian cartographer Petrus Visconte from 1318 AD. The city of the Kaliakra Fortress saw its height in the second half of the 14th century, the same period that saw the demise of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396)

Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander (r. 1331-1371 AD) lost his two eldest sons (Ivan in 1349 AD and Mihail in 1355 AD) in battles with the Ottoman Turks, failed to prevent a number of Bulgarian feudal lords from seceding, and on top of that divided the remainder of the Second Bulgarian Empire between his two surviving sons.

His third son Ivan Sratsimir (r. 1371-1396) received the smaller so called Vidin Tsardom, with the Danube city of Bdin (Vidin) as its capital, and his fourth son Ivan Shishman (r. 1371-1395) received the rest, the so called Tarnovo Tsardom, with the capital proper of Tarnovgrad (today’s Veliko Tarnovo).

Bulgarian boyar Balik (r. ca. 1337-1366 AD), a powerful feudal lord, acquired independence from the Bulgarian Tsars setting up the so called Dobrudzha Despotate, also known as the Principality of Karvuna, in the region of Dobrudzha, today’s Northeast Bulgaria and Southeast Romania, which included the city and fortress of Kaliakra. He was succeeded by his co-ruler and brother, Despot Dobrotitsa (r. 1347-1385 AD).

The Dobrudzha Despotate itself was destroyed by the Ottoman Turks in 1388 AD. The name of the region of Dobrudzha is believed to have stemmed from the Turkish pronunciation of the name of Despot Debrotitsa.

The Despots of the Principality of Karvuna were the first Bulgarian rulers to build a major (Black Sea) navy.

Wallachian Voivode Mircea the Elder, whose documents were written in Bulgarian, in the Bulgaric (Cyrillic) alphabet, was first an ally of the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Shishman, with whose aid he even came to control briefly parts of the Dobrudzha Despotate, styling himself “master of Silistra and the lands of Despot Dobrotitsa” in 1390-1391. He regained the region around Kaliakra in 1402 but lost it again to the Ottoman Turks in 1403.

In 1444, the crusaders of Vladislav (Wladyslaw) III Jagello, also known as Varnenchik, King of Poland and Hungary, camped near the Kaliakra Fortress during his second campaigns against the Ottoman Empire (a few decades after it had conquered the Second Bulgarian Empire), shortly before the Battle of Varna.

The Kaliakra Fortress and Cape Kaliakra are also known as the site of the largest naval battle to ever take place in the Black Sea – the Battle of Cape Kaliakra in the summer of 1791. It was the last naval battle of the Russian-Turkish War of 1787-1792, in which the Russian Navy under Admiral Fyodor Ushakov won a victory against the Ottoman Navy led by Hussein Pasha.

During the period of the Ottoman Empire, a place at the Kaliakra Cape connected with the legend of St. Nicholas (see below) is believed to have been the site of a dervish monastery keeping the relics of Muslim Bektashi Saint Sari Saltik.

The first modern lighthouse on Cape Kaliakra was built in 1866 by the Compagnie des Phares de l’Empire Ottomane; the present lighthouse was erected in 1901, during the period of the Third Bulgarian Tsardom (1878-1946).

Cape Kaliakra and the fortress are connected with a lot of legends. The most famous is the one about the 40 Bulgarian maidens who tied their hair together, and committed suicide by jumping into the Black Sea off the 70-meter-tall cliffs in order to avoid being captured and raped by the Ottomans. An obelisk called “The Gate of the Forty Maidens” has been erected at the entrance of the cape in dedication of this legend.

According to another major legend, Cape Kaliakra was created by God in order to rescue St. Nicholas from the Ottomans by extending the ground under his feet while he was running from them. He was eventually caught, and a chapel exists today on the alleged spot of his capture.

A third major legend about Kaliakra has it that Lysimachus perished there with his entire fleet, having escaped there with the treasure of Alexander the Great.

The archaeological excavations on Cape Kaliakra have also revealed ancient and Early Christian necropolises.

The Late Antiquity fortress on Cape Kaliakra had a territory of about 250 decares (app. 62 acres). The third and outermost fortress wall is 1.25 km away from the end of the cape, and is 422 meters long; it had 5 fortress towers. The middle fortress wall is located 400 meters away, and is 162 meters long, and also had a moat. The innermost fortress wall is located 325 meters away from the middle wall, and is 30 meters long.

***

Bulgaria’s National Archaeological Preserve “Yailata” (“Yaila” is a Turkish word left over from the Ottoman Yoke period meaning “a high pasture”) is located on Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast, 18 km northeast of the town of Kavarna, and 2 km south of the town of Kamen Bryag (“Rocky Coast”). It is a rocky coastal terrace towering 50-60 meters above the Black Sea level, and has a total territory of 300 decares (app. 75 acres).

The Yailata Archaeological Preserve features archaeological and historical monuments form different time periods – from the 5th millennium BC until the middle of the 11th century AD.

The archaeological sites in the Preserve include a “cave town” of 101 dwellings from the 5th millennium BC; three necropolises (family tombs) from the 3rd-4th century AD which, too, were carved into the rocks; a small Early Byzantine fortress, i.e. the Yailata Fortress, dating back to the 5th century AD which features four partly preserved towers and a gate tower; an ancient rock shrine, wineries, four ancient tombs; in the Middle Ages, the caves in Yalata housed a medieval monastery; some of the caves feature Ancient Bulgar runic signs, crosses, and stone icons.

The Yailata Archaeological Preserve was formally established by the Bulgarian government in 1989. It has been excavated and studied by archaeologists since 1980, with the digs focusing mostly on the Early Byzantine fortress Yailata dating back to the the reign of Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus (r. 491-518 AD), the rock necropolises, and the cave homes.

A substantial part of the marvelous archaeological and historical heritage of the Yailata Archaeological Preserve and the nearby Kaliakra Cape and the Kaliakra Fortress is believed to be underwater, a future matter of interest for underwater archaeology.

The area is known to have been a harbor in ancient and medieval times, and local fishermen have found there debris from ancient and medieval ships when fishing at a depth of 60 meters. (What is more, the Black Sea is unique because below 200 meters (60 meters in some parts) it has no oxygen but only hydrogen sulfide, therefore any underwater archaeology sites or sunken ships at greater depths are supposed to have been perfectly preserved.) In 1791, in the Battle of Cape Kaliakra, the Navy of the Russian Empire commanded by Admiral Ushakov defeated the Ottoman Turkish Navy at Kaliakra which was an event when a lot of vessels were sunk.

There is also a legend that Yailata is where Ancient Roman poet Ovid spent his last days, after he was exiled by Emperor Octavian August to the Black Sea port of Tomis (today’s Constanta in Romania). According to the legend, Ovid managed to sneak out of Tomis aboard a ship, and found refuge in the Bay of Yailata where he was hidden by the locals.

The Early Byzantine fortress of Yailata is located in the northern part of the Archaeological Preserve. To the north and east, the fortress is protected by high rocks, which is why it had fortress walls only to the west and the south. The walls have a combined length of 130 meters, and are 2.6 meters wide. The walls, the four towers, and the tower gate are made up of large stone blocks which are up to 2 meters long and 0.7 meters high. Inside the fortress, the archaeologists have unearthed several staircases and buildings. The gate at the fifth tower was 2.6 meters wide.

The archaeological artifacts made of copper, bronze, bone, and clay which have been discovered at the Yailata Fortress indicate that it was built at the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 6th century AD, and was short-lived. It was destroyed during the barbarian invasions at the end of the 6th century AD.

It remained uninhabited for three centuries, until the 9th century AD, the time of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680-1018 AD) when it was reformed into an Ancient Bulgar settlement which had a small Christian chapel. The medieval Bulgarian settlement there was destroyed by the Pecheneg tribes in the middle of the 11th century; after that, the Yailata Fortress never recovered.

The Yailata Archaeological Preserve also features a large number of man-made caves located on several levels. They were used for thousands of years as dwellings, tombs, or rock churches (a rock monastery in the Early Byzantine period).

Over 120 funeral facilities have been found in the three necropolises in the Yailata Archaeological Preserve which feature a variety of rock graves and tombs. Most of the tombs were robbed in the Antiquity and the Middle Ages. However, the discovered funeral inventories including clay bowls, cups, and lamps, bronze and iron buckles, glass beads, and coins have indicated that the tombs date back to the 2nd-5th century.

These were family tombs that were in use for a long period of time, and in some of them the archaeologists have found up to 15 skeletons. Because of their specific features, the rock tombs in the Yailata Archaeological Preserve are believed to have been connected with the arrival of barbarian tribes which were most likely of Sarmatian origin.

According to archaeoastronomers who explored the ancient rock shrine at Yailata, it was built in the 6th-5th century BC. The shrine located in the northern part of the Preserve has been likened to a shrine described by Ancient Greek poet Pindar (ca. 522 – ca. 443 BC) from Thebes as a shrine on the Black Sea coast visited by the Argonauts where their offered a sacrifice.

According to other Antiquity authors, the region around today’s Cape of Shabla located to the north of Yailata was known as Caria, with the so called Carian Port.

Caria is also the name of an ancient region in southwestern Anatolia (today’s Turkey) implying some sort of a connection, possibly the arrival of Carian settlers.

The Ancient Thracian tribes that inhabited what is today Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea coast, i.e. the so called region of Dobrudzha, are denoted in scientific literature as Getae-Dacians or Thraco-Getae.

In 2013-2014, Kavarna Municipality completed an EU funded project entitled “Yailata – the Ancient Door of [the Region of] Dobrudzha” for the archaeological restoration of the Early Byzantine fortress in the Yailata Preserve. A total of BGN 2.2 million (app. EUR 1.1 million) of EU money from Operational Program “Regional Development” were invested in the project.

However, the restoration of the Yailata Fortress has been vehemently criticized as one of Bulgaria’s botched archaeological restorations because of the used construction materials, and because for some reason the restorers installed a glass banister on top of the fortress wall.

Local civil society activists launched numerous protests against the Yailata Fortress project taking the case even to the European Commission in Brussels. However, according to the inspections carried out by the Bulgarian government, no violations have been found.

***

The Ancient Thracian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine port and fortress of Byzone (Bizone), later the medieval Bulgarian settlement and fortress of Karnava and Kavarna, is located on the Black Sea Cape Chirakman, also called Ognen Nos (“Fiery Cape”). It is the predecessor of today’s Bulgarian Black Sea town of Kavarna.

The coast of today’s Kavarna was first settled as early as the 3rd millennium BC. The settlement at the location of Byzone was first started in the 7th-6th century BC by Ancient Thracians from the tribes of the Getae (Gets) in the 7th-6th century BC. In the 5th century BC, the settlement at the location of Byzone existed parallel to a settlement on the nearby Cape Kaliakra known as Tirizis (named after the tribe of Terizi, a subgroup of the Getae).

Both Byzone (on Cape Chirakman) and Tirizis (later the Kaliakra Cape Fortress) were part of the Ancient Thracian Odrysian Kingdom in the 5th century BC.

Later, in the 5th century BC, the location of Byzone was settled by Ancient Greek colonists from the Black Sea polis of Messembria (today’s Nessebar). In the second half of the 4th century BC, both Byzone and Tirizis were affected by the expansion of the Macedon Empire of Alexander the Great (r. 336-323 BC). After the Alexander’s death, the region of today’s Northeast Bulgaria was a base for Lysimachus (r. 306-281 BC), one of Alexander I the Great’s generals, and one of his diadochi (successors) who became King of Macedon, Thrace, and Asia Minor. According to Ancient Greek geographer Strabo, Lysimachus even hid part of his treasures in the citadel of Tirizis.

In the 3rd-2nd century BC, the site of Byzone possibly experienced an invasion of Celts and was temporarily settled by Scythians. Evidence of the Scythian presences has to do with the discovery of their rulers’ coins in the area as well as rock-hewn tombs in what is today the Yailata Archaeological Preserve to the north of Byzone and Cape Kaliakra.

In its early centuries, Byzone became a commercial port for trade between the locals and distant ports in Ancient Greece, Egypt, and others in the Eastern Mediterranean. While what is today’s Bulgarian Northern Black Sea coast is not convenient for building ports because of its high and rocky shores, the fertile soil of the region still helped the locals in the Antiquity produce and sell high-quality wheat.

In the second half of the 1st century BC, a major earthquake caused the front part of what is today Cape Chirakman to “break off” and collapse into the Black Sea, bringing down much of the ancient city of Byzone, including what may have been the city’s richest quarter.

Yet, the city was rebuilt and revived, again with the name Byzone, in the period of the Roman Empire when Byzone’s region was at first part of the Lower Moesia Province. The territory of today’s Northern Bulgaria between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains was conquered by Rome in 15-29 AD (all of Ancient Thrace south of the Danube was conquered in 46 AD).

However, in the 2nd century AD, the city may have “collapsed further” or “a second time” into the Black Sea, judging from the discoveries of archaeological structures from the Roman period made in 2005 by underwater archaeology researchers led by archaeologist Asen Salkin.

In the 4th century AD, a solid fortress wall was built to defend the Black Sea port, part of which has been excavated and partly restored as an archaeological attraction for tourists. An Early Christian basilica has also been discovered in Byzone which seems to have been one of the best fortified cities on the Western Black Sea coast in the Late Antiquity.

In the 6th century, the nearby fortress on Cape Kaliakra (the former Tirizis called in some historical sources Acra) emerged as a very important city, and a main stronghold in the 513 AD rebellion against Byzantine Emperor Anastasius (r. 491-518 AD) launched by Byzantine general Vitalian (d. 520), a native of the inland city of Zaldapa, which grew into a 5-year civil war.

Byzone flourished as a port during the Early Byzantine period (5th-6th century), up until the 7th century AD when it was destroyed by the invading Slavs and Avars.

After them, the Ancient Bulgars, who shifted the center of their empire (the First Bulgarian Empire, 632/680-1018) south of the Danube in the second half of the 7th century, established in Byzone’s ruins on Cape Chirakman the medieval settlement of Karnava, later called Kavarna (not to be confused with the medieval city of Karvuna, a major fortress in today’s Black Sea town Balchik which is located 15 km to the west!).

After it was depopulated for reasons that remain unknown, the city was resettled ca. 1000, at about the time the First Bulgarian Empire was conquered by Byzantium (and remained part of it for over 160 years).

Karnava grew to greater importance during the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396/1422), when it emerged as an important center of crafts. The archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of several churches from this period.

In the second half of the 14th century, the city became part of the Dobrudzha Despotate (Principality of Karvuna), a feudal state that seceded from the Second Bulgarian Empire, and survived for about four decades before Bulgaria’s conquest by the invading Ottoman Turks at the end of the 14th century. The Despotate’s consecutive rulers, Balik, Dobrotitsa, and Ivanko, had a small navy, warred with the Italian city-state of Genoa, and were allied for a time with Genoa’s rival Venice.

The Dobridzha Despotate was forced to become a vassal of the Ottoman Empire in 1387. After the Battle of Rovine in 1395, in which Wallachian voivode Mircea the Elder won a victory over the Ottomans, the territories of the Despotate came briefly under his control, only to be ultimately conquered by Ottoman Turks ca. 1411.

The region of Karnava may have been considered briefly liberated from the Ottomans in 1444, during the Second Crusade of the King of Poland and Hungary Vladislav (Wladyslaw) III Jagello, also known as Varnenchik (Warnenczyk), which, however, ended with an Ottoman victory in the 1444 Battle of Varna.

After the Ottoman conquest, which almost completely destroyed the city that used to be ancient Byzone and medieval Karnava, a new settlement was built on the Black Sea coast, at the foot of the hill that is Cape Chirakman (Ognen Nos, “the Fiery Cape”). The present-day name of the city, Kavarna, is found for the first time in historical sources from the early 15th century. By the 17th century, Kavarna was already a town with Bulgarian Christian population.

Later, during the Russian-Turkish War of 1828-1829, Kavarna and its region were massively depopulated when thousands of local Bulgarians fled Ottoman atrocities by migrating to the Bessarabia region in the Russian Empire. The Bulgarian population of Kavarna was brutally slaughtered by Ottoman Turkish irregulars and regular troops in 1877, during the Russian Turkish War of 1877-1878, which brought about Bulgaria’s National Liberation (the defense of the local Bulgarian population is known as the Kavarna Uprising).

According to Czech-Bulgarian archaeologist Karel Skorpil, one of the fathers of modern-day Bulgarian archaeology, who explored the archaeological site on Cape Chirakman in the late 19th and early 20th century, over the ages, the ancient and medieval city of Byzone near today’s Kavarna had three lines of fortifications fencing off its peninsula from the mainland – a structure very similar to the fortifications of the Kaliakra Fortress (Tirizis, Acra) on Cape Kaliakra (located 12 km to the east).

The outermost (and third) fortification line consisting of a moat and a rampart was located 1185 meters to the west of the tip of Cape Chirakman, and was 160 meters long. However, it was built only in the Early Middle Ages, at the time of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680-1018).

The second fortification line was located 750 meters west of the tip of the cape, and 435 east of the outermost rampart mentioned above. It consisted of a stone wall, which was about 40 meters long, sealing off the peninsula. However, nothing remains of it have been preserved, and its location is visible only from aerial shots.

According to the existing archaeological research, the earliest fortification of Byzone and the Chirakman Cape and Peninsula was built in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine period, probably in the late 4th century AD. Its fortress wall fenced off the easternmost section of the cape with a territory of 25 decares (app. 6 acres), and there was no wall to the southwest, i.e. from the side of the sea. This early fortress wall was 1.8 meters wide, and was made of stones and red mortar. It had one rectangular fortress tower guarding the access from the south, and three smaller towers along the wall. In the western end of the northern fortress, the archaeologists have unearthed a massive building sticking out which was 19 meters long, and had walls which were 2.4-3.2 meters wide. At first thought to have been barracks, it was later decided this was a later modification of the Early Byzantine fortress wall, possibly a keep which was typical for the Middle Ages but also existed in Late Roman and Early Byzantine modifications. Later this earliest fortress was expanded to the northeast with walls that were 2.25 meters wide, with U-shaped fortress towers which were 6 meters wide. The expansion also had a gate.

Over 70 different types of coins have been found on Cape Chirakman, whereas an Ancient Thracian gold treasure made in Byzone in the 4th century BC, and consisting of a golden wreath, a golden vessel with three-horse chariot images, and a golden statuette of a lion, has been found on a nearby hill. It probably belonged to Getae (Ancient Thracian) aristocrats.

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