Tracian tombs and Kazanlak


Kazanlak is the capital of the rose Valley in Bulgaria. The city is famous by the rose oil extraction and the rose oil-producing – one of the most widely recognizable Bulgarian national symbols.

The city is home to the largest and best preserved Thracian tomb in the country which is UNESCO heritage and the Rose Museum. Nearby is the ancient city of Seuthopolis and the Valley of the Thracian kings.

Kazanlak’s current name dates from the Ottoman empire and is derived from the Turkish Akçe kızanlar (white girls). Akçe kızanlar – sad Sultan Murad I when he saw the girls welcoming him in the city.

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

The tomb is the best preserved Thracian Tomb in the region. It is part of a large royal Thracian necropolis in the Valley of the Thracian kings. In the region is the ancient capital of Seuthopolis and more than a thousand tombs of kings and members of the Thracian aristocracy can be found.

It is believed that the tomb belonged to the Thracian ruler Roigos. It was discovered by accident on April 19, 1944, by soldiers digging trenches in the northeast of Kazanlak. The soldiers came upon a stone wall. The curiosity made them break it. Then they entered a low and narrow corridor, where a rectangular granite slab was tumbled down, and from there into a round vaulted room. Realizing that they had discovered something important, they called in an archeologist and he confirmed their assumptions.

The world-renowned tomb is due to its unique murals in the corridor and the dome – some of the best preserved murals of ancient paintings from the early Hellenistic era.

To preserve the sensitive paintings, the tomb is not open to the public; a full-size replica was built nearby.

The Kosmatka Tomb

One of the most powerful Thracian kings  is Seuthes III. He was ruler of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from c. 331 BC to c. 300 BC.

The Tomb of the Seuthes III is situated in the Golyamata Kosmatka mound north from the town of Kazanlak. The tomb temple consists of a corridor, an anteroom, a round chamber with high tholos cover, and a rectangular chamber, constructed as a sarcophagus from two monolith blocks, one weighing more than 60 tons.

In the third chamber, objects were found on the spot, indicating a particularly lavish funeral. These include: golden wreath of oak leaves and acorns, drinking vessels and serving wine; weapon elements (bronze helmet with silver gilded applique, knee pads, breastplate with gold-plated decoration, iron sword in scissors with gold appliqués, spear heads), horse ammunition decoration, round gold applique with furious lion head with cuttings glass playing pools, objects, and related toilets: two alabaster incense pans and a gold plated silver (pouch) mussel box.

Also found was the now famous magnificent sculpted head believed to represent Seuthes III – the eyes are made of alabaster and glass paste and the eyelashes and eyebrows from copper strips.

Damascena Complex

Near Kazanlak is located Damascena Complex where the spirit of old traditions is uniquely blended with the magic and beauty of modern rose oil production.

There you can taste the famous jam of roses, rose honey, rose liqueur and brandy of roses, test various essential oils and learn interesting facts about their application.