US-funded renovation of Thracian Tomb near Bulgaria’s Sveshtari unveiled

The newly-renovated Thracian Tomb near Sveshtari in north-eastern Bulgaria was unveiled on June 7, according to a statement by the United States embassy in Sofia.

The renovations were made possible by the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), which provided more than 330 000 leva to preserve the Unesco-designated cultural treasure for future generations to enjoy and admire, the embassy said.

The unveiling was attended by US ambassador to Bulgaria Herro Mustafa, representatives of the Credo Bonum Foundation and of the Ministry of Culture, as well as local dignitaries.

The Sveshtari Thracian Tomb is a unique example of Mediterranean sepulchral architecture and attracts about 50 000 visitors every year.

The tomb was built in the third century BCE to house the remains of a wealthy Getae tribe ruler who was buried there along with his horses.

The most notable decorations inside the tomb surround the burial chamber – 10 caryatids (columns sculpted as women) whose chitons are in the shape of an upside-down palmette. This kind of sculpture is otherwise not found in the region.

The AFCP-sponsored restoration project included expert repair and renovation of significant parts of the display of the tomb, as well as professional light installations, climate control, educational exhibits and displays, and other improved tourist infrastructure, the US embassy said.

The embassy said that this AFCP project joins a host of others that the embassy has sponsored since 2002, including the conservation of two fourth century Christian tombs in central Sofia; the preservation of the fourth century BCE Thracian Tomb of Kran II in the Valley of the Thracian Kings; the restoration of the 17th century Kurshum Mosque in Silistra; the preservation of third century mosaic floors in the ancient provincial capital of Philippoplis (modern-day Plovdiv); the preservation of the early 19th century library and Mosque of Osman Pazvantoglu in Vidin, and the conservation and restoration of the mediaeval church from the 14th century, St John Aliturgetos, in the ancient town of Nessebur.

Together these projects amount to more than two million leva invested in Bulgaria’s cultural heritage by the United States embassy, the statement said.

(Photos: US embassy)

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