The Tomb of Seuthes III – Shipka, Bulgaria - Atlas Obscura

The Tomb of Seuthes III

The remarkably well-preserved final resting place of a powerful ancient Thracian king. 


In what seems like the middle of nowhere, though not far from the Rose Valley region of Bulgaria, you’ll find ancient Thracian burial mounds. Among them is the the tomb of King Seuthes III, who ruled the Odrysian Kingdom in the 4th century BC.

The burial site was discovered by archeologists in 2004. It’s a fantastic collection of artifacts that represent Thracian funeral rituals. Before King Seuthes III made the tomb his eternal resting place, it was used as a temple. After his funeral, the first two rooms were walled off and the main passageway was set on fire and filled with dirt and stones.

The tomb itself is comprised of several spacious chambers. The first room is rectangular, with a double arched ceiling. The second is circular and domed. The third is an extravagant sarcophagus chamber. The skeleton of the king’s sacrificed horse was found in the first room.

One of the most fascinating features is the detailed bust of what is believed to be the king. Archaeologists also found a plethora of artifacts like knee pads, leather armor, weaponry, tack for the king’s horses, ceramic vessels filled with wine, a ritual bed, and a carpet made from gold thread.

It makes sense that the king would have such a lavish burial site. Seuthes was a powerful leader. After gaining control over the Odrysian Kingdom, he relocated it to Thrace. Seuthopolis, his capital city, is now sunken at the bottom of a reservoir near Kazanlak.

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