Archaeology: Excavations of Plovdiv’s Great Basilica to begin within weeks

Excavations of Plovdiv’s Great Basilica, the largest early Christian church found in Bulgaria and among the largest in South Eastern Europe, are to begin within weeks, ahead of the opening of a museum on the site planned for 2018.

Under the direction of archaeologist Elena Kisyakova, one of the largest preserved mosaics in Europe will be revealed and restored, to be part of the museum that will cover an area of 1200 square metres.

The Great Basilica site is near Plovdiv’s 19th century Roman Catholic St Ludwig church. It is believed to date back from between the fourth and fifth centuries.

The Great Basilica is 86.3 metres long and 38.5 metres wide, and had three naves with an apse at the eastern end of the central nave. On the western side, there was an atrium, surrounded by a colonnade on three side.

Plovdiv website said that mayor Ivan Totev had held talks on a tripartite agreement to be signed between the state, the municipality and the funder of the 4.9 million leva project, the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

Because the Great Basilica site is on two properties, one owned by the state and the other by the municipality, the Ministry of Culture has agreed to transfer the state land to the management of Plovdiv municipality, the report said.

(Photo: Via



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.