You have almost certainly been to Bansko at least once. What part of the city were you able to see and which of the sights? There is no way you missed the Velyanov House or the Nikola Vaptsarov Museum House, but did you see the archeological sites? We will tell you a little more about them, because they are one of the great pride of Bansko, along with ski runs and spa tourism. Let's begin!
There is evidence that there were Thracians and Slavs and Bulgarians and Byzantines on this land, even Romans. There is no way, with so many peoples, that everyone has left a corner of their culture and way of life. Archaeologists definitely attach great importance to Bansko and this region because of the many sites that have remained to tell us about life in the past. It is a huge surprise for everyone to discover that there was life in these lands during the Iron Age. Over the years, monasteries, shrines, tombs, mounds and churches were built and destroyed. All of them have hidden history and meaning, which today we are pleased to touch, albeit from an archeological point of view.
St. Nicholas Archaeological Complex
At an altitude of 1100 meters between Bansko and Dobrinishte is located the St. Nikola area. The basilica of the archeological complex, measuring about 6 acres, was found there. The complex was built of stone walls and fortress walls. The stones of the fortress walls were more than 1 meter thick and there was a gap behind them. There is evidence that this city was burned down and then rebuilt. Although the complex was less than 6 acres, archaeologists continue to find stone houses outside the walls that extend to another 20 acres. The place is very good because the valley could be seen from it.
Interestingly, in the open basilica were found graves of people who were up to 2 meters high. We can judge that the height of the people at the time the settlement existed was greater. To visit the St. Nicholas Archaeological Complex you need to start from Bansko to Dobrinishte and before the 5th kilometer you will see a sign.
There is also a Thracian sanctuary and a pre-Roman citadel in this area. A defensive wall was built along the citadel. The Thracian sanctuary has tombstones. You can also find the locality "Yulen" under the name "Gradishte". There are also many antique objects and household utensils found there. Most of them were painted with scenes from everyday life, which is of great help to archaeologists. Unfortunately, to get to the area you need to get off the car and take the hut "Demyanitsa" by the mark.
You cannot reach this fortress by car either, but there is a clearly marked hiking trail that starts 3 km away. after the Bansko exit sign. According to archaeologists, the fortress is of late antiquity and was actually quite famous. There is even more information about her, unlike St. Nicholas. Today, the northern wall, which was the entrance, as well as the eastern wall, were discovered. Both were made of stones fixed with mortar. Also interesting was the observation tower, whose purpose was to communicate with other fortresses in Pirin.
At first, archaeologists thought they were digging a small fortress that served as a cover for the Ottomans. Soon they realized that the period was actually of late antiquity. An interesting fact is that in this fortress there was a water supply in the inner part - III century to XIV century. There were fortress walls that divided the fortress into two - where the rulers and the homes of the rest of the population lived. There was even a prison outside. However, the fortress had something to do with the Ottomans, and that was the fact that it existed until they destroyed it in the fourteenth century. However, many jewelry, weapons and ceramics remain to testify to its existence. Even part of the water supply remains.
This area has been inhabited and built up many times. Initially, there were Thracians who erected a settlement and a sanctuary. Then the Basilica of Christians rises and finally the medieval church. Like the basilica, it was burned by the Slavs. There was also a necropolis with graves near the church, with archeologists finding numerous jewelry and pottery from the funerals. This place was definitely appreciated by the ancient peoples. There are still excavations in the area that promise to reveal more about the people and their lives there. An interesting fact here is that besides the basilicas they also built kilns to make it easier for them to bake the materials.
Bansko is definitely a unique city with a unique history. This is one of the most saturated Bulgarian cities in terms of archeological sites, so the next time you visit it, do not miss to visit them.