*Aquae Calidae and the fortress Poros turn into attractions for tourists
The cliché about the young fisherman-worker’s city of Burgas is justly going out of use. The active work of archeologists during the last years, supported by Municipality Burgas, brought into the surface, literally and figuratively, undeniable proof of old civilizations and their traditions. It turns out, that the geographical location of the city between the East and the West was and is going to be the engine of its demographic, economic and cultural development.
The big find from last year is a leaden phial from Efes, found during the excavations of the basilica in the fortress Poros on peninsula Foros, today the district of Kraimorie. At the moment the fortress is being restored and prepared for showing. The director of Regional history museum – Burgas – Milen Nikolov confirmed that the rare artefact will be shown on the 18th of May in the Archeological museum.
The phial is 22 mm. long and 17 mm. wide. Despite being this small it is heavily ornamented. From one side it has the image of Byzantine cross with widened ends in two medallions. On the other side are shown two inserting one another crosses with two medallions again as ends. On the neck there are two more crosses.
The phial is unique for Bulgaria. It is dated from the VI century. It is not known if similar phials have been found even outside of Bulgaria. The statistics say that in the whole world a total of 43 lead phials have been found – 20 of them are kept in the basilica St. Joan Precursor in Monza, Italy – they were given to the church by the queen of Lombardy Teodolina at the beginning of VI century, 16 lead phials are kept in the monastery Bobio, not far from Milan, and were found in a grave. One was found in the Spanish monastery Sant Pere de Casserres. Others are kept in 2 German and 4 American museums. All the phials are made in Jerusalem and are different from the phial from Foros. The only thing connecting them is that they are made from lead.
Fortunately, there is a description of a group of clay phials from Efes, which were bought from the Louvre at the end of XIX century, which completely corresponds to the phial of Foros. These phials are connected to the cult of St. Apostol Joan the Theologian, who was buried in Efes. Every year on the 8th of May, pilgrims from all over the world come to this city, to visit the grave of the favorite student of Jesus Christ. They covered it in roses, and this is the reason the day was called by the historical sources “rose day”. On 9th May the grave of the saint was found covered in dust, which was though to cure all diseases. Exactly this dust the pilgrims put in phials and took it to their birth places. In practice this proves that an unknown pilgrim from the fortress Poros, has made a pilgrimage to the grave of St. Joan the Theologian, and has brought back to his home town the precious relic. Up until now it was though that in Efes only clay phials were made, but the find in Burgas is proof, that lead phials were also made.
* A very interesting site is the fortress Poros
Even before the building of the fortress wall, during III century, on Foros peninsula was situated a big roman settlement and harbor. From this period during the excavations were found lots of materials – coins, ceramics, parts of bronze and marble statues. In the middle of the III century was built a big roman villa. It was exceptionally luxurious – with a hypocaust, the inner rooms had marble tiles, the window frames were also made of marble. The outside of the villa was plastered with fine plaster, covered with a specific red color, known in art as “Pompey red”. With this color were painted the buildings of the rich in the city of Pompey.
Later, during VI century, the fortress wall was built. It is 285 m long, 2.9 m wide and had 4 rectangular watch towers. During this period was built again the harbor complex of Poros. Along the coastline a lot of storehouses, houses and administrative buildings were built to attend the harbor. Also during VI century was built a big orthodox church – a basilica with a narthex. The floor was covered in big ceramic slabs.
The findings from the late antiquity (IV-VI century) are numerous. Among them stand out golden and bronze coins, an very rare lead seal from the begging of VII century, whole ceramic containers, a marble pillar, clay lamps and many more.
During XIII-XVI century Poros is mentioned in written sources. It is noted on almost every famous till this moment medieval maps from XIV to XVIII century included.
*In the summer Aquae Calidae complex will be ready to welcome tourists
At the moment the place is a construction site, because Municipality Burgas is working on excavating the old buildings and to secure a normal infrastructure so that tourists can visit.
The exotic bath, built by sultan Suleiman the Magnificent during XVI century is already renovated. It was placed at the center of the antique roman bath at Aquae Calidae. The ottoman building is square by plan. At the center is a marble pool, in which hot mineral water gathered, that was used for medical purposes. Along the walls there are lots of small basins. According the Turkish traveler Evliya Chelebi, sultan Suleiman was cured thanks to the healing waters of Aquae Calidae. In gratitude, he built a new bath and with a firman he founded a fair at this place, which led the whole region to an economic growth.
The bath is completely renovated. The marble facing of the walls and the pool are restored, the wall-painting is in the characteristic splendid ottoman style from XV-XVI century. Work is being done on the building of a tourist center, a kids corner, a café and an exhibition place.