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

RELIGIONS Orthodox, Paganism


The Tatul tomb is situated just outside the present-day village of Tatul, 8km to northeast of the town of Momchilgrad. The sanctuary lies inside the fortress walls of a Thracian fortress and is believed to have been dedicated to the famous Thracian singer, Orpheus. The sanctuary, deemed to date back to the 12th century BC, represents a big monolithic rock shaped by men into a pyramid. It is 4.5m high and 6m wide at its base. Within its body, worshippers have dug two rocky cemeteries, 8 stairs, and a niche for laying a ritual plate.
The earliest traces of human civilisation discovered so far at Perperikon were dated to the late Neolithic Period, 6th-5th millennium BCE. During the late Bronze Age in particular, 18th-12th century BCE, Perperikon saw its first heyday, which probably coincided with the peak of the Mycenaean and the Minoan civilisations. The area around Tatul, Bivolyane, Raven, and Nanovitsa villages is one of the richest in megalithic structures in the Eastern Rhodopes. The landscape is weird and unreal - the canyons of little fast-running rivers cut into the low hills. There are massive rocks everywhere, all of them "perforated" by ensembles of trapeze-shaped niches and cemeteries of unknown Thracian chieftains. However, the skyline of one of these structures can be seen from as far as dozens of kilometers. This is the shrine near Tatul.
Around 30 clay altars and other items from the 19th-18th century BC have been excavated, as well as an idol, a nude male figure from the Iron Age, proving the sanctuary was used without interruption in the period. A stone wall was erected surrounding the hill between the 4th and the 1st century BC, and the temple was constructed shortly thereafter, with the religious complex gradually expanding and the religious activity worshipping the man buried in Tatul shifting to the mausoleum that was built. Several new buildings were constructed in the 2nd-3rd century AD and the Christianization of the Rhodopes in the late 4th-early 5th century resulted in the conversion of the complex into a local ruler's domain featuring a defensive tower. The complex also suffered from two earthquakes, once in the 12th century BC and once in the 14th century AD. According to historians the sarcophagus, the truncated pyramid and the side chamber illustrate the funerals of Orpheus and King Rhesus of Thrace, who according to myths reigned in the southern part of the Rhodopes and fought in the legendary Trojan War.
A massive wall made of huge parallelepiped-shaped stone blocks was built during antiquity. Several buildings were discovered inside the sanctuary. One of them is a marvelous temple with 6 m-high walls that have survived to this day. An entire collection of bronze seal-rings dating back to the age of Antiquity was also found there. Construction and development activities was discovered in the area of the sanctuary in the first years of the 1st century AD. The renovated sanctuary existed until the 50s – 60s. The place was populated again in the second quarter of the 3rd century. Numerous Roman ceramic artefacts from this period were discovered. It is believed that the Hellenistic temple and the buildings surrounding it were transformed into a fortified Roman villa that became the residence of a wealthy local aristocrat. The estate was burnt down in 267 – 269 when the Goths invaded the Rhodopes. At the end of the 3rd century the villa was restored but with a much more primitive design. The new heyday of the region began in the 9th – 10th centuries. Another set of reconstructions took place during this period. The final period during which the hill near Tatul Village was inhabited by people is marked by a medieval necropolis. Eight of its graves were studied. The necropolis was built no later than the mid-13th century and marked the end of centuries-long life on the hill near Tatul Village.
The students should visit the place to broaden their knowledge.

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

Pagan temple Daul Tash - Madara

Perperikon - 5 Yazovirska street, 6610 Kardzhali

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak - near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria

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



  • JPG

    This is a picture of the sanctuary of the mythical Orpheus.


  • Tatul
    The video presents the sanctuary of Orpheus near the village of Tatul.


  • Tatul
    This website provides additional information about the sanctuary of Orpheus near the village of Tatul.

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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.