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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The fortress wall in Hisarya

My dear friends, in this journey we will take a walk together around the majestic ruins of the fortress walls of the ancient city of Diocletianopol (Diocletianopolis) in Hisarya, while I tell you interesting facts and curious stories.


Fragment of the eastern fortress wall of Diocletianopol (Diocletianopolis) in the city of Hisarya, Bulgaria

I suppose you know thanks to its hot mineral healing springs, the ancient city gradually became an ancient top SPA destination, respected and frequented by dignitaries and important persons, and that is why it was imperative, even mandatory, that the city was protected from enemy attacks by the construction of a massive fortress wall.


Fragment of the northern fortress wall of Diocletianopol (Diocletianopolis) in the city of Hisarya, Bulgaria

Today, according to its authenticity, preservation and originality of the fortification system and architecture, the Roman city of Diocletianopol ranks among the first places in Europe!


Due to the fact that most of the fortress walls are in very good condition today, we have the privilege to enjoy them as they looked about 1700 years ago, as well as to learn interesting facts in detail.

At the time, the ancient fortress city spread over an area of 30 hectares. The total length of the entire fortress wall is 2,327 meters.

At the time of its rise and when it flourished, Diocletianopolis had 44 towers, 4 main gates and 6 smaller entrances.


The main southern gate of ancient Diocletianopolis in the city of Hisarya

Of the former four grandiose, massive main gates through which the ancient Diocletianopolis was entered, the western and southern are the best preserved today.

"The Camels" are the majestic and impressive ruins of what was once the main southern gate and are now a symbol of the city of Hisarya.


My dear friends, our joint inquisitive walk around the fortress walls will start right here - from "The Camels"!


Watch the following video, which will show you the main southern gate, as well as fragments of the southern fortress wall.



From "The Camels" we take the wonderful pedestrian and bicycle path, built today along the entire length of the southern, eastern and western fortress walls, on which I personally, in addition to a bicycle, rode rollerblades and skates, and I can certainly confirm that these are of the good ones for these entire alleys that I have had the pleasure of using!


Watch the next video, my dear friends! It will take you for a walk on a beautiful, sunny, magical day along the southern fortress wall, bordering the peaceful green and charming park "Orpheus Dale".



Here is an interesting fact for the more inquisitive of you - the southern fortress wall is 556 meters long, and the thickness of the walls varies in places from two and a half to four meters.


In the height of autumn, the avenue is covered with cheerful leaves from the majestic catalpas, wild carobs, salcums, ginkgos, sycamores and sycamores, and this makes our walk magical, smiling and happy!


The pedestrian and bicycle alley along the southern fortress wall of Diocletianopol in the city of Hisarya

Step by step we arrive at the most south-eastern point of the ancient fortress wall, from where we continue along the alley in a northerly direction and again all the way past the magnificently preserved and incredibly beautiful and impressive ruins.


The most south-eastern point of the fortress wall of Diocletian in the city of Hisarya

The protective fortress wall was erected in time by the skilled hands of Thracian craftsmen, built using mixed masonry with bands of four rows of bricks joined with mortar.


Along the entire length of the eastern fortress wall in the spring there is a veritable storm of colors - true extravaganza of shades from blooming wild carobs in all shades of purple and pink!



My dear friends, I have selected several fragments of the eastern fortress wall, which I will show you in the next interesting video. In spring, scarlet poppies bloom on the wall, which the wind loves to play with!



And now you can watch the next video! I have prepared a surprise for you - fragments of the eastern fortress wall and an entrance to one of the eastern battle towers located along the wall.



In the next video, I will show you fragments of the eastern fortress wall, but from the interior of the ancient city - I'm sure you will be quite intrigued by these views!



The wonderful pedestrian and bicycle alley takes us all the way to the intersection of "Krepostna" and "Dimitar Blagoev" streets, from where we will enter the outlines of the ancient city and continue our smiling walk already in the boundaries of ancient Diocletianopol.


The bicycle lane near the eastern fortress wall of Diocletianopol in the city of Hisarya

Now we have crossed the borders of the ancient settlement and are already happily walking towards its most north-eastern point.


Dimitar Blagoev Street in the city of Hisarya passes through the northern part of the eastern fortress wall of Diocletianopol

The most interesting of all the 44 battle towers built at nodal points along the fortress wall is the north-east tower, located at the most north-east point, and I will now introduce you to it.


The foundations of the northeast tower of Diocletianopolis in the city of Hisaria

Only it has an octagonal shape and is placed on two extensive round pedestals. Compared to the quadrangular towers, the polygonal form provided greater resistance against the wall-breaking machines with which it was attacked.

Today, the superstructure of the walls of the tower from its floor level has been preserved to about one meter and ten centimeters. The walls are built in the mixed masonry system of four rows of brick belts.



Another advantage of towers with this shape lies in the availability of more manpower with weapons and equipment.

Probably there were embrasures (more battlements) on the towers. These are narrow vertical openings in fortress walls and towers that allow defenders to shoot through them with a bow or crossbow. They are made narrow to protect against external fire, but not too narrow because they will interfere with the archers and block their view of what is happening beyond the walls. A small horizontal opening is also usually added, thanks to which the gunners can be more successfully aimed, and which is why the embrasures often have the shape of a cross.

The more embrasures a tower has, the greater its defensive capability, due to the ability to fire simultaneously in all directions. The so-called fan shelling provided reliable protection to the fortress wall of Diocletianopol, both from the north and from the east.


It is likely that over the entire upper part of the defensive fortress walls, as well as over the 44 towers, cogs (more cogs) were erected, which also provided additional protection.


So we imperceptibly arrive at the place where the main northern tower once stood. Currently, it has not stood the test of time and only its foundations show us exactly where it stood.


A plaque marking the site of the northern main gate of Diocletianopolis in the city of Hisaria

Dear curious people, I present to you another interesting fact!

The northern fortress wall was the only double wall secured in this way due to frequent raids by barbarian tribes. For additional protection of the fortress, there was a moat and an earthen rampart around it.


Fragments of the northern fortress wall of Diocletianopolis in the city of Hisarya

The length of the northern fortress wall is 490 meters and walking along its remains we reach the most north-western point of the ancient city - a temporary SPA retreat of the emperor Diocletian, who probably loved to relax here before and after battles.


The most northwestern point of the ancient city of Diocletianopol in the city of Hisaria

I will remind you again that along the entire length of the western fortress wall today there is a unique, sun-drenched pedestrian and bicycle path, personally tested and recommended by me!


Walking down the lane, we arrive at the majestic remains of the main west gate!


The ruins of the main western gate of the ancient city of Diocletianopolis (Diocletianopolis) in the city of Hisaria

Even today, "Dimitar Blagoev" street passes through here, and to stand right under the arch of this gigantic and impressive old building, which has withstood the merciless blows of time, is a real pleasure!


In the next photo moment, I have shown one of the many gaps in the wall, and the green meadows overflow into the blue sky against the background of ancient beauty.


The Western Fortress Wall, part of the National Archaeological Reserve "Diocletianopol"

The length of the entire western fortress wall is 627 meters and walking along the alley we imperceptibly arrive at the most southwestern point of the ancient city of Diocletianopol.


The most southwestern point of the ancient city of Diocletianopol

At this point there is a large gap in the wall and a path leading to Momina salza spring.


From here to the main southern gate, from where our joint journey of inquiry begins today, the wall is almost intact.


A fragment of the southern fortress wall, through which the Bulgarian trobagrenik winds

In 1976, with Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 199, the area surrounded by the fortress walls of the Roman city of Diocletianopol was declared a National Archaeological Reserve!


I wish you an exceptional and impressive walk!


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