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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The basilicas of Hisarya

Dear friends of "Photo Moments", it is an incomparable pleasure for me to tell you about the basilicas of the city of Hisarya.


It is an interesting fact that in Bulgaria, only on the territory of today's Hisarya, the largest number of early Christian basilicas have been discovered - a total of ten in number, and only three of them are exposed and accessible to visit today.

All of them are distinguished by their diverse architectural form.


Basilica #1

Basilica #1 is located on the ruins of the barracks complex within the ancient city.



The extreme southwestern building, after its second consecutive demolition, was rebuilt into a two-nave basilica - the only one known so far in Bulgaria.


Basilica #3

The only basilica whose name can be confirmed to date is Basilica No. 3, dedicated to "Saint Stephen the First Martyr".

The basilica is located south of the main southern fortress gate.

The first archaeological research on it dates back to 1936.



It has three naves with a vestibule and a courtyard. The apse is semi-circular on the inside, and three-sided on the outside.


The ruins of Basilica No. 3 in the city of Hisarya
Базилика №3

The pre-abside part of the altar is separated from the nave by a partition, from which the decorative marble columns have been preserved. The supporting columns in the nave are masonry, with bricks on stone bases. During the excavations of the basilica, a tombstone of the priest Theodore was found, with an inscription in Greek, from which it is clear that, in addition to Theodore, his son John, whose relics rest in the vestibule of the temple, was previously buried there .


Tombstone with an inscription in ancient Greek from Basilica No. 3 from the second half of the IV century (Hisarya City Archaeological Museum)
Tombstone with an inscription in ancient Greek from Basilica No. 3 from the second half of the IV century (Hisarya City Archaeological Museum)

(As) a gift from God was transferred,

keeping God's commandments,

Theodore with bright memory;

And as he had to go to God

and had desired (to have) his eternal abode

in this honest home of the saint

glorious first martyr Stephen,

find solace here

of the month of October the third (day), indiction the seventh,

(after) sending before (yourself as)

pure incense

his own son, John,

the tread that rests in the vestibule

(of this temple)


Paleographic features of the inscription show that both burials took place in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian, who ruled from 527 to 565.


Brick column from the basilica (Hisarya Archaeological Museum)
Brick column from the basilica (Hisarya Archaeological Museum)

Later, the basilica was burned during an enemy attack.


Basilica #8

Basilica No. 8 is located between the colorful inscription HISARYA and the "Momina Banya Colonnade" water kiosk.

The basilica was discovered and explored in 1960.

The walls of the building have been preserved up to a height of 0.55 meters.



The basilica consisted of a three-nave nave, a vestibule, a baptisterium (baptism) and a courtyard.

It is dated from the 5th century.


The discovered ten basilicas in ancient Diocletianopol are an eloquent indicator of the intense spiritual and cultural life of the city during the IV-VI century.

Diocletianopol was not only a hydrotherapy center, but also an important Christian city - the seat of a bishop. It is one of the few Roman cities in Bulgaria in which such a large number of early Christian cult buildings were built.


In 1966, the basilicas in Hisarya were declared an immovable cultural value of national importance in issue 36 of the State Gazette.


The basilicas of the city of Hisarya are included in itineraries:



You should not miss to enjoy a walk through the green and peaceful Hisarya.


The southern fortress gate "The Camels" of ancient Diocletianopol in the city of Hisarya
The southern fortress gate "The Camels" of ancient Diocletianopol in the city of Hisarya

Hisarya offers its guests diverse and impressive attractions, which I have summarized in the following great itinerary ideas that everyone can benefit from:




And as a finale, my dear friends,

you shouldn't miss a look

the special album with photo moments –

discovered, experienced, captured and shared with you!



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