Sveshtari Thracian Tomb

  • Sveshtari Thracian tomb
  • Thracian sanctuaries and stronghold
  • Tomb of Demir Baba

The archaeological reserve at Sboryanovo, an hour’s drive away, is one of the highlights of Bulgarian archaeology.

There are hundreds of burial mounds at the Sboryanovo Archaeological Reserve but one stands out from the rest because it is unique for Thracian archaeology.

It is the Sveshtari tomb which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The tomb is one of the finest Thracian burials in Bulgaria and visitors are allowed entry inside the mausoleum to see the wall paintings and sculptures. 

The Sveshtari mausoleum is perfectly preserved and visitors can stand under the stone arch that marked the doorway of the burial chamber, the threshold between life and death, the gateway to immortality and the realm of the Thracian gods. This was probably the burial of the Thracian king Dromichaetes who is known from ancient Greek sources.

Herodotus, the Greek historian, describes the Thracian practice where the favoured wife of a dead king was chosen to accompany him to the grave. Sure enough when archaeologists discovered this tomb in the 1980s there was a female skeleton alongside the man in the tomb.

There were also skeletons of horses at the entrance and the Thracians were known as skilled warriors, some serving in the cavalry of Alexander the Great. The Thracian horseman indeed became a popular deity in the Roman period and there are many stone carvings of this figure, the image which later became the standard picture of St. George.

These are the most striking remains at Sveshtari but the expansive reserve also contains hundreds of other burial mounds, as well as the remains of long-lived Thracian ritual places and sanctuaries.

There was also a thriving fortified Thracian city.  You can see the remains of this fourth century BC town which It is probably the political and military centre of the local tribe, the Getae. This place was called Hellis and was mentioned by ancient Greek historians.  

Elsewhere in the reserve, from a much later time, you can see the sanctuary at Kamen Rid and there is the seventeenth century tomb of Demir Baba, a mysterious figure revered by an obscure mystical Moslem sect known as the Alevi. The tomb continues to be visited and respected by Moslems and local Christians. It was built into the site of a much earlier Thracian shrine.


Wild thyme eco retreat Bulgaria

At this time of year, almost every house in the village has strings of red peppers hanging from every available sunny place.   Such a pretty sight.  When they are all dried by mid to late September, they will be milled to make a delicious fresh paprika.


Foraging for mushrooms



We’ve just had a fun morning foraging for mushrooms in the forest with Mustafa.  The kids loved it.  There are so many varieties of wild mushrooms, from chanterelles to horse mushrooms to ‘mamatarkas’.  They were really delicious cooked in garlic and served on toast for lunch!

Picking mushrooms Wild Thyme Bulgaria


Competition winner

Selecting the winner for our competition

On 1st May, the winner was drawn for our competition to win a holiday for 6 in the eco-cottage.  The winner is Gideon from Wales.  Looking forward to his visit!

Wild Foods

nettle soup

There’s lots of wonderful wild foods to be foraged at the moment – nettles, snails and a local wild spinache. Soon we’ll have mushrooms and elderflowers.  This is delicious nettle soup made by one of our guests, Lana.


Baking bread

Baking bread


There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread.  In this workshop, learn how to make:

  • Wholemeal walnut farmhouse loaf
  • Irish soda bread
  • Sourdough bread

Workshop costs 13 euro per person and lasts 2 – 3 hours.