From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Perperikon Nenko Lazarow 023.JPG
The ruins of the ancient city of Perperikon
Location in Bulgaria
Location in Bulgaria
Shown within Bulgaria
LocationKardzhali Province, Bulgaria
Coordinates41°42′53″N 25°27′55″E / 41.71472°N 25.46528°E / 41.71472; 25.46528Coordinates: 41°42′53″N 25°27′55″E / 41.71472°N 25.46528°E / 41.71472; 25.46528
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins

The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon (also Perpericum; Bulgarian: Перперикон, Greek: Περπερικόν) is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place. The village of Gorna krepost ("Upper Fortress") is located at the foot of the hill and the gold-bearing Perpereshka River flows nearby. Perperikon is the largest megalith ensemble site in the Balkans.

The name "Perperikon"[edit]

The name Perperikon dates from the Middle Ages – 11th–13th centuries. The original name Hyperperakion was shortened by scribes to Perperakion or Perperikon. There are at least two theories about the origin and meaning of the name, both associating it with gold-mining: The city may have been named after a Medieval high-temperature gold-refining process (Medieval Greek hyperpyros), or the resumed use of a classical-era name for the site, derived from a word for altar-fire (ancient Greek hyperpyros).[1]


Perperikon 2016 106.jpg

Human activity in the area dates back to 5000 BCE. The first traces of civilization on the hill date from the Bronze Age, while the ceramics found on the place date from the Early Iron Age, as well as the impressive round altar, almost 2 m in diameter, hewn out of the rocks.

It is thought that a famous Temple of Dionysus was located at Perperikon during the classical era.[2]

Perperikon is the site from which Medokos declared himself the king of Thrace in 424 BCE, after Sitalces's death, but was overthrown.[3]

Bulgarian archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov started the excavation works at Perperikon in 2000, and revealed the remains of ancient architectural complex.[4]

Archaeologists have uncovered a giant multi-story palace and an imposing fortress built around the hill, with walls as thick as 2.8 m. This dates from the time of the Roman Empire. Temples and residential quarters were also constructed in the fortress. The megalithic complex has been laid in ruins and re-erected many times throughout history.

A 2.4 million Euro visitor centre is being constructed with funds provided by the EU.[5]


The Perperikon church site

A church pulpit was found by Bulgarian archeologists at the peak of the Thracian rock sanctuary on 10 September 2005. It is thought to be the first found in Bulgaria. The pulpit was probably built at the end of the 4th century CE or the early 5th century during the reign of Byzantine emperor Arcadius and coincided with the period of the Christianization of the Thracians in the Rhodopes area.

The church foundations are laid out in the form of a single nave basilica of 16.5 m length, which is the most typical form of late antique Christian church building. The pulpit is exceptionally well preserved and is richly decorated with ornaments incised on the stone, including a clearly visible eagle with outstretched wings. It also bears five inscriptions in Greek.


Other sites named Perperek[edit]

Perperek Knoll on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the settlement of Perperek, in connection with the Thracian holy city of Perperikon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Gold of Perperikon".
  2. ^ "Medieval Archaeological Complex Perperikon – town of Kardzhali". Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  3. ^ Webber, Christopher; McBride, Angus (2001). "The Thracians 700 BC–AD 46". Men-at-Arms. p. 6. ... after Sitalkes' death, Xenophon would find that Medokos (based at Perperikon, twelve days' journey inland from the sea) called himself the king of Thrace. Medokos however was unable to stop Seuthes ...
  4. ^ "Bulgarian archaeologist shows off Perperikon finds". 18 October 2010.
  5. ^ "New tourist center to be built in the Rhodopes". Standart, Arts & Culture. 11 September 2008. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.

External links[edit]