Perperikon - History and Facts | History Hit


Gorna Krepost, Kardzhali, Bulgaria

Perperikon was an important Thracian sanctuary turned Roman town then medieval fortress.

Lily Johnson

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Perperikon

Perperikon was an important Thracian holy sanctuary which became a Roman town around the 1st century BC, and was later the site of a medieval fortress.

Perperikon history

Inhabited since 5000 BC, Perperikon became home to the Temple of Dionysus, legendary for being the place of great prophecies. One of the most famous of these involved Alexander the Great, who was told that he would conquer the world in 334 BC, prior to his invasion of Persia.

In a later continuation of the theme, Gaius Octavius – father of the Emperor Augustus – is also said to have consulted the oracle in 59 BC, and was told his son would rule the world.

Whilst it was the Thracians who built the sanctuary, it was preserved and expanded under the Romans, who developed Perperikon into a larger settlement with an acropolis and a giant multi-storey palace. The remains of these structures have been excavated and can still be explored today.

Destroyed by the Goths in the 4th century AD, Perperikon experienced a resurgence in the 6th century under Emperor Justinian. At this time, the town’s defensive elements were reinforced. Perperikon would continue to be an important site over the centuries, with further temples and Christian churches built there. It was also a medieval military stronghold, particularly in the 13th century.

Perperikon today

Today visitors can wander through historic Perperikon, set on a high rocky hill overlooking beautiful countryside.

Its fascinating ancient ruins may be explored, which include the remains of important public buildings, houses, stairways, altars, tombs and walls. It is advised you hire a guide to interpret them, as there are no information boards explaining what each ruin is.

As the largest megalith archaeological site in the Balkans, Perperikon is an excellent place to explore the area’s ancient past and visit a fascinating ruined city once revered as sacred.

Perperikon features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Bulgaria.

Getting to Perperikon

Perperikon is located 15 km northeast of Kardzhali in Bulgaria on the 5071 road, and requires a car or taxi to get to. However, you may also join a tour that will pick you up from the nearby town of Plovdiv. It is then a fairly steep climb up the hill to Perperikon from the car park, so it is advised you wear good walking shoes and bring plenty of water.

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