Kazanlak, 1 km south of Shipka.
All year daily 9-17.
Adults BGN 6, Children (7-16) BGN 2, Children (0-6) free.
Guide BGN 5, Foreign Language BGN 10.
Free admission every last Mon of the month.
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|Museum of History Iskra-Kazanlak, 9, St Cyril and St Methodius str., 6100 Kazanlak, Tel: +359-431-99028. E-mail:
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The Гробница Севт ІІІ (Tomb of Seuthes III) is part of a large royal Thracian necropolis near their ancient capital of Seuthopolis. It is also known as Могила Голяма Косматка (Tomb of Golyama Kosmatka). Seuthes III was the King of the Odrysian Kingdom of Thrace from 331 to 300 BC. He also founded the nearby Thracian city of Seuthopolis, which was named after him. The valley was dubbed Valley of the Thracian Rulers and has estimated 1,500 tumuli. This is the most elaborate of the known tombs.
The mound named Goliama Kosmatka was filled up as a sacred hill in the first half of the 5th century BC. It is estimated that the temple was built in the second half of the century. First a wide trench was made in the embankment from the south, then a monumental temple was built. It had a representative facade and three rooms which were built from hewn granite. The first rectangular room had a gabled roof, the second, round room had a dome, both were erected with separate blocks, connected by lead brackets. The last chamber is sarcophagus-like, carved from a single granite block weighing about 60 tons. On top a second granite block was placed which forms a gabled roof. Inside the chamber are a ritual bed and a table.
The temple was used for religious ceremonies called Orphic mysteries by Thracian priests. In order to preserve the mystery of the rite from the uninitiated, a double-leafed marble door was locked from the inside with latches. On the outside the easter leaf shows Helios, the god of the sun, the western leaf shows the Gorgon Medusa. At the beginning of the 3rd century BC a ritual was performed for the burial of a Thracian aristocrat in the central chamber. Supposedly this was the ruler of the Odrysian state Seuthes III. After more than a century as a temple, it became a tomb. To ensure the safe and unimpeded passage of the king's soul between the worlds, the Thracians sacrificed a horse and placed it in the first room.
In front of the original facade a second facade and 3 m corridor with stone walls and a wooden roof structure was erected. The whole structure was buried by a mound and finally the entrances to each of the chambers were walled up, and the corridor was set on fire. The wooden roof burned down and collapsed, and the passage was filled with the material from the mound.
The most spectacular find in the tomb was the head of a bronze statue. It was carefully placed 7 m south of the entrance to the outer facade, at the level of the surrounding terrain. It is interpreted as the portrait of the buried Thracian ruler.
The mound is quite large and hard to oversee, so it was known all the time. The underground structure was discovered in 2004 during archaeological excavations. Today it is open to the public.