Sveshtari Thracian Tomb

February 11, 2014

Sboryanovo Archaeology Reserve

Sveshtari Thracian Tomb at Sboryanovo Arachaeological Reserve

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.

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 there was also a thriving Thracian city here in the fourth century BC known to the Greeks as Helis. Elsewhere in the reserve you can see the sanctuary at Kamen Rid and the much later seventeenth century mausoleum of Demir Baba, an Islamic holy man and mystic.

Sveshtari is about an hour’s drive from Wild Thyme or guests can join our archaeological excursion to the site.

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