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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Agathopolis - the city of love and happiness

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Quo vadis, Ahtopol?

How long will you travel back in the millennia, Ahtopol? - exclaimed the world-famous Bulgarian archaeologist Prof. Velizar Velkov, along with the incredible discoveries of an underwater sea expedition in 1983 near Ahtopol.

Ruins - remnants of an irretrievably past time

And here I am on a hot May day at the port of Ahtopol - the city of love and happiness.

Why a city of love and happiness, you ask? Hey now I'll tell you!

I have specially prepared the complete and so detailed legend for all curious people!

Here it is:

Legend of the origin of Ahtopol - the city of happiness and love

On the mountain of the gods Olympus, a high council was organized, to which absolutely all the gods, their sons and daughters were invited to attend.

The god of the seas and oceans Poseidon was the first to arrive on Olympus just for the advice of the gods, accompanied by his sons.

When he appeared to Zeus, his sons took on a human form, and the most beautiful of them was Dolphin.

As they walked, they saw three young girls swinging in three golden swings on a radiant and sunlit meadow.

Dolphin approached one of the girls, whose smile shone like the sun, and at that moment Amur hit his heart with a love arrow.

"Who are you, beautiful girl?" The most wonderful of all and the most beautiful on Olympus.

Smiling, the girl replied:

- I am Agatha, daughter of Zeus and Hera and I am destined to be a slave of love. And who are you, boy?

- Dolphin - son of Poseidon, the god of the seas and oceans. I accompany my father with my brothers.

And from that moment the fire of a great and true love blazed wildly.

When Dolphin returned to his father, he begged him to ask Zeus for his wife.

Rumble and thunder shook Olympus when he heard the request of Zeus the Thunderer and immediately drove out the matchmakers.

The hearts of the two young men shrank, separated, but their love became even stronger.

For days and nights the Dolphin tossed the sea from Colchis to Astea. Huge waves raged and crashed into the rocks along the shore. The sailors did not dare to enter this sea and named it Akheinos Pontos (The Inhospitable Sea).

Agatha also sat in her room all day crying for her great love. Only in the evening did she go out and talk to the moon and her favorite bird, the owl Agao.

Each day, Dolphin sent a seagull news to his beloved to share his grief, but the seagulls returned unanswered.

Agatha also sent her favorite bird, the owl Agao, hoping to see him and talk to him.

The owl flew to the seashore, landed on the coastal rocks, and began to call to him with all her might.

"Why are you shouting like that, ominous bird?" She heard a voice from the sea.

"Who are you to call me that?" I carry the grief of love and look for Dolphin to give it to him.

"I'm a Dolphin." Woe is me!

- My mistress Agatha sends me to tell you that after the separation her love and sorrow do not fit on Olympus.

"I'll steal it!" Dolphin decided.

"Tell your mistress I'll come with a fast-flying boat pulled by light-winged seagulls to pick her up." Let her sleep with her father for two days and two nights and go down to the beach.

And so it happened. Agatha's mother, Hera, who knew earthly and divine herbs, found and boiled a decoction of licorice, and by pouring it into the wine of Zeus, he slept soundly and for a long time.

Agatha kissed her dear mother gratefully and flew in Dolphin's speedboat to Poseidon's kingdom.

A marble palace shone on the rock where the owl landed. In it Dolphin introduced his beloved.

Zeus woke up and, realizing the deception, sent executioners to punish her severely.

When the executioners arrived, the owl saw them, though it was night, and screamed ominously and warningly.

Dolphin woke up, intoxicated by Agatha's love, and gathered his retinue. He carried his beloved in a boat and lured the executioners to the sea.

The fight was fierce, but love won!

Dolphin and Agatha lived happily. Many children were born to them and they created a city. They called it Agapi-polis (city of love).

The most revered in this city among the birds was the owl Agao (symbol of happiness).

The sun gently caressed the blue waters of the sea with its rays and it gently kissed the coastal stones with tamed waves. Once again, ships sailed from coast to coast, spread sails like white gulls, and sailors gratefully named this sea Euxinos Pontos (the hospitable sea).

Sunny Ahtopol is a city with an incredibly rich ancient and medieval history.

The first settlers in these lands appeared about 5000 years BC, which means that the ancient Agathopolis was founded long ago.

Around the first millennium BC, Thracians settled here, who were excellent sailors.

Stone, lead and iron anchors have been found in the area of ​​Ahtopol Bay, which testify to this.

For centuries, Agatopolis has been the largest and richest city on the Strandzha coast.

Two large fires (one in October 1918, the other again in October, but in 1935) completely destroyed the old city and in its place was built a new Ahtopol.

The medieval Agathopolis was located on today's Ahtopol peninsula - parts of the fortress wall of the city block the narrow isthmus of the short land, protruding into the sea, no more than 300 meters long and 150 meters wide.

The remains of the fortress in this place are impressive - some parts are up to four meters high.

Although compared to the ground, the line of the fortress wall can be traced along the entire coastline of the peninsula.

Excavations here, and on the peninsula in general, have not been made.

The wall at the isthmus is almost three meters wide and is made of large quarry stones, welded with mortar, which is mixed with crushed bricks and tiles.

In some places, five rows of brick belts are clearly visible.

It is difficult to trace in time the construction of the fortress wall of the city, due to the complete lack of historical information.

The dating of archeological finds (coins, ceramic vessels, anchors) refers to the origin of the settlement on the Ahtopol peninsula around VI-V BC.

In the periplus of Ariadne, compiled around 131, it is noted that 250 stadia from Chersonesos (Maslen cape), ie exactly the distance to the Ahtopol Peninsula, there is the port of Avleuteihos. However, the fate of this settlement is not clear, because it and its surroundings have almost always stayed away from the great barbaric attacks.

But why and when Avleuteihos was named Agathopolis remains unknown.

It is also unknown when it was fortified with a fortress wall - in the list of fortresses restored by Emperor Justinian, Agathopolis is missing. It may have been fortified by Emperor Anastasius in the late 5th century - early 6th century, when some Black Sea cities of the empire were reportedly fortified.

In 812, during the victorious offensive of Khan Krum, the city was conquered by the Bulgarian army.

Agathopolis must have been more than an impressive city by now, as its name deserved to be carved on one of the columns in Pliska.

I wish you an exceptional and impressive walk!

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