Archaeology: 9th century Baths found at Bulgaria’s Pliska

Archaeologists working at the site of Pliska, once the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, have uncovered a luxurious royal baths that they believe date back to the ninth century CE.

The baths are probably the oldest medieval baths found in the country, reports on September 8 said.

The design of the baths was heavily influence by Mediterranean culture. The bathroom was an architectural jewel of stone over an area of 80 square metres.

Under a large dome-covered stone building, there were three separate but luxurious rooms.

Archaeologist Pavel Georgiev told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television that there was a separate dressing room, a room for bathing in lukewarm water, and next door a pool with a bathtub with warm or even hot water. This was adjacent to the furnace where the water was heated.

Between the stone wall and the fine marble, there was a cavity through which hot air passed to keep the ceramic pipes warm.

The report said that in the early ninth century, when elsewhere in Europe there were only wooden buildings, Pliska boasted huge stone buildings and baths with floor and wall heating.

Georgiev said that this was notably important because the First Bulgarian Kingdom was a direct successor of a great ancient culture.

The tradition was to build bathrooms separately, but very close to the living quarters. The archaeological team has discovered a part of this and the outline of one of the aristocratic mansions in the inner city of Pliska.

Pliska, which boasts a large archaeological reserve and is the subject of ongoing digs, is best known as having been the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom from 681 to 893CE.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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