stone Coast

photo: Elisaveta Ivanova

Kamen Bryag is among those places on our Black Sea coast that can still offer us an unadulterated organic experience. There is only pure nature and history. Kamen Bryag is the name of the village, located 2 km from Yailata National Archaeological Reserve. Although the reserve is the real reason for the high attendance, the village itself is also quite friendly. Away from the bustle, so typical of most tourist resorts, Kamen Bryag is a center of art people and intellectuals. Not much entertainment is offered, but on the other hand the place has kept the truth of its atmosphere. From the windows of the houses you can see the fields and smell the sea. There one can talk to friends, be silent or "star" in the late hours.

photo: Elisaveta Ivanova

The Yailata area itself is high above the raging waves. It is perched on top of 60-meter cliffs, where the Dobrudzha plateau meets the sea and divides into terraces. It is on such a 300-decare seaside terrace that the "Yaylata" is located. The place became the subject of serious research in the early 1980s. In 1989 it was declared an archeological reserve because of the numerous monuments and evidence of the existence of various ancient civilizations. Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians lived in these lands in the period from the XNUMXth millennium BC. until the middle of the XI century.


From Turkish, "Yayla" means "high pasture" and indeed, from above, one seems to feel best how wide the land is. The rock relief depicts a winding line in the sea. Green turns blue in perspective, and blue blurs until it irreversibly melts into the atmosphere. The horizon bends in an arc, birds wander dizzyingly in the sky, figs flood with sweet lobster day and night. This picturesque panorama stretches north of Kamen Bryag and south to Rusalka in the form of a 500-meter-wide coastal strip. 

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Although the main archeological finds are located on land, the water area of ​​the area is also quite interesting. The coast is open to the open sea and does not prevent strong winds. Therefore, the conditions are bad for building a port. However, the remains on the bottom indicate the presence of active maritime traffic. Parts of anchors and ships were found, indicating increased trade and military activity. The traces date back to antiquity until 1791, when the Russian fleet led by Admiral Ushakov defeated the Turks and many ships found themselves at the bottom.

photo: Elisaveta Ivanova

One of the most significant monuments located on the territory of "Yailata" is the early Byzantine fortress. It dates from the end of the 20th century and is currently only partially preserved. It is located in the northern part of the terrace, called "Big Yayla". The architecture of the fortress is interestingly combined with the natural features of the terrain. From the north and from the east the building uses the cliffs over XNUMX m high and so it was necessary to build defensive fortress walls only from the west and south. At the moment, other parts of various elements of the fortress can be seen. Four solid towers facing the land have been preserved. As well as the gate, which was with two doors. The outer one was a sliding door (the so-called "cataract"), followed by a second double door, which was locked with massive wooden beams. A tower rose above the entrance, which served as a surveillance and therefore to guard the adjacent terrain. The fortress functioned until the end of the XNUMXth century and then, for three centuries, was unusable. Later, in the ninth century, an old Bulgarian settlement was born in its vicinity and its activity was restored. In the XNUMXth century the settlement was destroyed by the Pechenegs and so the fortress remains a monument forever. 


Another very interesting site is the sanctuary, located in the northern part of "Yailata". It is carved into a rock formation with a view of the horizon. It is established that the sanctuary dates from VI - V century BC and its main axis is directed to the point of the winter solstice. You can see pits carved in the stone different in shape and size - rectangular, trapezoidal, oval. There are also linear and angular depressions. They all served to collect the blood of the sacrificial animal. Judging by the scale of the facility, it can be concluded that the relief on the surface of the otherwise flat stone was also used to collect rainwater. This water was probably used for cult purposes and was identified with some deity of natural forces. A staircase consisting of three steps has been preserved as part of the sanctuary. Ritual processions climbed it - a practice well known in ancient Thrace. There are also three adjoining tombs, which are oriented towards the axis of the sanctuary.

photo: Elisaveta Ivanova

Another find discovered by archaeologists in these lands are the rock necropolises. More than 120 burial facilities have been found in the area. They are carved in the flat plateau of the terrace, as well as on the steep slopes. The latter are from the so-called "Cave type". They are characterized by a small shaft-shaped vestibule, sometimes separated by steps, but maybe without. Another type of tombs are those characterized by a large, rectangular or elliptical opening. It points to the surface and was closed with carved stone slabs.

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The greatest interest for scientists is the so-called. "The necropolis № 1 “. It is located about 700 m north of the early Byzantine fortress and is built around the aforementioned sanctuary facing the horizon and sunrise. "Necropolis № 12" reveals tombs, divided into small groups with orientation both east-west and north-south. They are also distinguished by their larger scale and more precise workmanship. "Tomb № 2 ”from the same necropolis is decorated with a plastic image of a bull's head. This is the only decoration of this type found in the necropolises of Yailata. Of particular interest to research is the anthropological value of these tombs. A formal-typological analysis revealed their similarity with other necropolises from the territory of the Northeastern Black Sea coast and therefore their origin is associated with the invasion and establishment of barbarian tribes of Sarmatian origin in our lands. All tombs in the area were family and up to 15 skeletons were found in some. And most have been looted since ancient times. 

The whole area "Yailata" is dotted with caves. Only on "Big Yayla" they number 101 and all are the work of human hands. Some are single and others are divided into complexes. They are located on several levels of the rock plumb. Their purpose was, for thousands of years, for living, as well as in the form of tombs, and most recently they were used as a monastic monastery in the V - VI century. These caves functioned as one of the so-called "Rock monasteries" in Dobrudja.

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