Interior of Villa Armira with its complex Ancient Roman floor mosaics
|Material||bricks, stones, marble|
Villa Armira (Bulgarian: Вила “Армира”) is a 1st-century suburban Roman villa in southeastern Bulgaria, located in the proximity of Ivaylovgrad, Haskovo Province. Discovered in 1964 during reservoir construction, it is a primary historical attraction to the Ivaylovgrad area. It is classified as a monument of culture of national importance.
Villa Armira lies some 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) southwest of Ivaylovgrad. It was named after the Armira River, a minor tributary of the Arda. It is a sumptuous palace villa and one of the largest and most richly decorated Ancient Roman villas excavated in Bulgaria.
The villa dates to the second half of the 1st century AD and originally belonged to a noble of Roman Thrace who is thought to have been the governor of the surrounding area.
The two-storey U-shaped villa spreads over 3,600 square metres (39,000 sq ft) amidst a garden, with an impluvium in the middle. Villa Armira had 22 separate rooms on the ground floor alone in addition to a panoramic terrace. It was expanded eastward in the 3rd century AD with a triclinium and a hypocaust. The walls of the entire ground floor were covered in elaborately decorated white marble. The villa's complex floor mosaics display geometric designs and depictiions of animals and plants. The mosaics in the master's chamber depict the 2nd century AD owner with his two children: these are the only Roman-era mosaic portraits to be discovered in Bulgaria. A common theme in the villa's decoration is the gorgon Medusa.
Today the 2nd-century mosaic portraits of the owner and his children can be seen in the National Historical Museum in Sofia, the ceramic finds are exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum, while copies of the marble decoration are part of the Kardzhali Regional Historical Museum's fund.
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- Auzias, Dominique; Jean-Paul Labourdette; Anouck Baudoin; Nevena Panayotova (2008). "Ivailovgrad: Points d'intérêt". Le Petit Futé Bulgarie (in French). Petit Futé. p. 276. ISBN 978-2-7469-2141-2.
- "Вила Армира — Паметник на културата с национално значение" (in Bulgarian). Община Ивайловград. Archived from the original on March 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- "Вила "Армира" вече е отворена за посетители" (in Bulgarian). Български фактор. 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2009-08-31.