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Smolyan, Zlatograd
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Croses peak, Narechen, Chudnite Mostove

Perperikon (Hyperperakion, Perperakion) is in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km from Kardjali, in the 470 m high rock peak. Past him run Perpereshka gold-bearing river, with beautiful lake in the Studen Kladenets Dam. Along the river are archaeological sites from different eras, arranged around a natural center - Perperikon. The archaeological complex consists of a large megalith sanctuary, the holy city and fortress. Supposedly, it was famous in ancient sanctuary of Dionysus.

Ancient complex is a perfect combination of the Neolithic, surrounded by a massive fortress wall. It is protected acropolis, built of huge stone blocks in the highest part of the hill, and carved in the rock palace with an area of 10 000 m2. Around them was small streets in the rocks, buildings and temples. The stronghold name comes from the Thracian god of stone, Per.

The next period is late out of the Stone-Copper Age (Eneolith) at the end of V century BC. Since that time have remained roughly hewn in the rock pits with broken pottery cult. Development of complex rock continued throughout the Bronze Age (XVIII-XII century BC). Perperikon is undergoing its first big boom, the era is of Crete-Mycenaean civilization - Troy and Mycenae.

Numerous findings give reason to assume that it is precisely here finds what a whole century in the famous ancient sanctuary of Dionysus. On a special altar-wine are made fiery ritual. According to the height of the flames sued the strength of prediction. In his work "Lives of the Twelve Caesars", the Roman historian Suetonius Trankvil describes prediction, made the father of the first Roman Emperor Augustus in the temple of Dionysus.

In the description of the march of Xerxes against the Greeks in 480 BC, Herodotus wrote about the sanctuary of Dionysus, which predicted the future priestesses by the Thracian tribe of Bessi, as this is done in Delphi. He notes that the temple is located behind the snow-capped mountains and the highest peak in the higher parts of the Western Rhodopes.

The Roman era is the era of prosperity for Perperikon but coming invasion of the Goths in the second half of IV century. Perperikon was captured and burned, but the town raised in the V century. Byzantine strengthen and gradually began to recover its borders. Justinian the Great (527-565) made colossal building, restored ancient cities and fortresses. Walls of Perperikon also repaired, were built and new. It is Christianity, the basilica at the Acropolis was converted into a church, Christian churches are rising in the vicinity.

Settled in VI-VII century Slavs and Bulgarians have left a few fields of drawings, which are connected with the cult of the goddess of fertility Umay. Stabilization of the Byzantine fortress again yields important. In 1339 he was designated as an episcopal center which shows the importance of the medieval center. On the ruins of the ancient temple was built a new church.

Eastern Rhodopes were conquered by the Bulgarian state after the uprising of the brothers Asen and Peter (1185). During the wars between King Kaloyan and knights of the Fourth Crusade, the eastern part of the mountain was a major base of the Bulgarians. In 1246 a government came to juvenile Mikhail Assen, but managed his mother Irene. Daughter of the Byzantine emperor, without war she returned to the southern lands

In 1254 virile king with a large army subjected the territory near the Maritsa and Rhodopes. After years of Bulgarians were forced to retreat to the north. In 1343 king Alexander seized Plovdiv region and the Eastern Rhodopes. In Perperikon was appointed archon. Been given to him a letter, backed by the only surviving through the centuries gold seal of Ivan Alexander, found at Perperikon.

After the invasion of Turkish fortress was demolished, but the Christian population continued to live at the foot of Perperikon to the XVII century. Increased Turkish exodus and colonization changed ethnic character of the area in XVIII-XIX centuries








 
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