Small Basilica, Plovdiv

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Coordinates: 42°08′47″N 24°45′29″E / 42.146407°N 24.757954°E / 42.146407; 24.757954

Small Basilica of Philippopolis
small basilica
Small basilica Exterior
Map of Plovdiv city center
Map of Plovdiv city center
Small Basilica
Shown within Plovdiv City Center
LocationPlovdiv, Bulgaria
Coordinates42°08′47″N 24°45′29″E / 42.146448°N 24.757944°E / 42.146448; 24.757944
Length20 m
Width13 m
Materialbricks, marble
FoundedThe second half of the 5th century AD
AbandonedThe end of 6th century AD
PeriodsRoman Empire
Site notes
Excavation dates1988, 2010
ArchaeologistsMina Bospachieva
OwnershipPlovdiv Municipality
Public accessYes
Part of a series on the ancient city of
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Buildings and structures
Related topics
 • History • Timeline

The Small Basilica of Philippopolis (Bulgarian: Малка базилика на Филипопол, Malka bazilika na Filipopol) is one of Plovdiv's most distinctive landmarks. The basilica is located on Maria Louisa Blvd in the central part of Bulgaria's second-largest city. The ruins of the early Christian church were found during construction works in the area in 1988. The three-nave basilica is an example of the exceptional skill of mosaic builders in ancient Philippopolis.

The basilica[edit]

The basilica was built in the second half of the 5th century AD and contained rich architectural decoration including a marble colonnade between the naves, a marble altar screen, a pulpit, and a synthronon in the altar apse. The total length of the building is 20 m and its width is 13 m. Originally, it was built as a three-nave basilica with one apse and a narthex. The floors are covered with colorful Roman mosaics with geometrical motifs. A small chapel is built against the south end of the basilica and a baptistery is attached to the northern part of the building. The total length of the church is 20 m and its width is 13 m. The baptistery has a square plan, and contains a cruciform baptizing pool and polychromatic mosaics. Deers, pigeons, and other Christian symbols were depicted on them.

Excavation and restoration[edit]

  • 1988 - The ruins of the early Christian basilica were accidentally discovered during the construction of an apartment block in the area.
  • 1993-1994 - A team from the National Monuments of Culture Institute removed and put in storage about half of the mosaics, leaving and conserving the rest in situ.
  • 1995 - The basilica and the adjacent remains of ancient fortification wall were declared a national monument of culture.
  • 2000 - Some of the mosaics were restored by the archeologist Mina Bospachieva and the restorationist Elena Kantareva-Decheva.
  • 2010 - A thorough conservation and restoration project was initiated with the financial support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria, and the Plovdiv Municipality.
  • 2013 - The restored small basilica was inaugurated.
  • 2014 - The small basilica opened to the public on 1 May.


External links[edit]