Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Select language

This section of the Pathway through Religions portal provides administrative information for the project contractual partners and for the European Commission and it is password protected.


Homepage > ReligiousSite Map > Map

An interactive didactical map interactive didactical map giving access to sites with a religious relevance.

Back to the Religious Sites List

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria



The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak (Bulgarian: Казанлъшка гробница, Kazanlǎška grobnica) is a vaulted-brickwork "beehive" (tholos) tomb near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria. The tomb is part of a large royal Thracian necropolis in the Valley of the Thracian Rulers near their ancient capital of Seuthopolis in a region where more than a thousand tombs of kings and members of the Thracian aristocracy can be found. It comprises a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The monument dates back to the 4th century BCE and has been on the UNESCO protected World Heritage Site list since 1979. The murals are memorable for the splendid horses and for a gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other's wrists in a moment of tenderness and equality (according to Lyudmila Zhivkova—a view that is not shared by all specialists). The paintings are Bulgaria's best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period.
An original Thracian tomb from 4th – 3rd century BC is situated in the Tyulbeto park. It is known as the Kazanlak Tomb. It is under a special storage regime. Its duplicate, constructed in scale 1:1, which presents the architecture, the archaeological materials and the wall-paintings of the Kazanlak Tomb, is situated next to it. This Tomb is one of the most significant monuments of the Thracian culture in the Bulgarian lands, included in the list of the global cultural inheritance of UNESCO in 1979.
The tomb was accidentally found in 1944 in the north-east region of Kazanlak, and it is a significant monument of the Thracian art from the early Hellenistic age. Based on its architectural outlook, it belongs to the dome tombs, typical for the Thracian funeral architecture from the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC. It is situated in the south part of a sepulchral mound and consists of three premises: a rectangular anteroom, a narrow brick corridor (dromos) and a brick sepulchral chamber with a round plan and a bell-shaped dome. Two burials had been conducted in the sepulchre – of a man and of a woman, by means of corpse lying, which is evident from the preserved bones. According to the archaeologists, the tomb was robbed as early as in antiquity. Two clay askoses (flat round vessel with two handles) and a silver jug were found in the mound. A clay vessel – oynohoe (wine jug) and horse bones were found in the anteroom. A sharp-bottomed amphora, clay rosette with dry gilding, a funeral crown, small parts of golden jewels and pieces of local Thracian ceramics were found in the dome premise.
The monument owes its global fame to the remarkable wall-paintings in the corridor and the dome premise – one of the best preserved products of the antique painting from the early Hellenistic age. The unknown painter had worked in four basic colors: black, red, yellow and white. The wall decoration imitates in colors the front wall of a rich construction, coated in marble tiles and ending in architectural details. The warriors presented on the second frieze in the corridor represent a meeting between two enemy troops, and a fight scene is presented on the west wall. The scenes represent a historical event related to the life of the distinguished Thracian ruler buried in the tomb. Figures of a man and a woman who are sitting by a small table covered in fruits are painted opposite to the entrance, in the dome premise in the center of the main frieze, and around them are presented their servants who are bringing gifts. A scene of a funeral feast with a procession is pictured. The distinguished married couple is crowned with laurel wreaths – a sign of heroisation which was widely popular during the Hellenistic age. The wall decoration in the upper area of the dome ends with a second small frieze, which pictures three chariots pulled by two horses. The tomb is a part of the Valley of the Thracian Kings, which also includes the temples and the tombs found in the mounds Golyama Kosmatka, Golyama Arsenalka, Shushmanets, Helvetsia, Gryphons, Svetitsa (Female Saint) and Ostrusha.
The students have to visit the place to broaden their knowledge.

Ancient Thracian Sanctuary of Nymphs - near the village of Kasnakovo, Dimitrovgrad municipality, Haskovo Region

Perperikon - 5 Yazovirska street, 6610 Kardzhali

Tatul - 200 m from the village of Tatul in the areas Kara dere and Kaya basi, Kardzhali district

Thracian sanctuary – The gate of the Goddess - south of the village of Buzovgrad



  • JPG

    Frescoes in Kazanlak Tomb, which is included in the world cultural heritage, are painted by Kodzimases who is Thracian. The tomb itself is ordered by the emperor Poigos, a son of Sevt III. Konstantin Boshnakov noticed a photo, on which there was an inscription on the dome of the tomb, made above the figures of two rulers and in the field of three chariots. The historian began to doubt very seriously as it is a feature of his character as well. He requested a permission to enter in the tomb and to take photos, which assured the presence of letters, which lost their colour. Later, investigations with infra-red and ultra-violet rays were made and eventually the whole title appeared. It is written in Antique Greek language and all letters are not bigger than 12 mm: “Kodzimases painted”. Mr. Boshnakov claims that the letters are original and they couldn’t have been seen by restorers. The profile of Roigos is identical to the image of the only one coin with his name preserved in Bulgaria. In Bulgarian historian’s opinion, Roigos is obviously the inheritor of the founder of Sevtopolis-Sevt III. Mr. Boshnakov affirmed that frescoes dated back to the middle of 3d century B.C. Rather earlier when Kodzimases wasn’t so well-experienced, he painted also the tomb in the village Alexandrovo, Haskovo Area. There graphite with his name was found and next to it the word “Hrestos” was put; one of its meanings is “skillful”. It is believed that this was the art name of the genius painter. It is the only one Thracian Tomb, where a painter has put his name and it is quite unusual for the past time. According to Mr. Boshnakov, the Thracian has worked only with plots, which the best painters were familiar with. There are 32 figures of people and 25 of horses in Kazanlak Tomb.



Follow us


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.