Valley of the Thracian Kings
The number of mound in the Kazanlak valley is about 1,500, of which about 300 were studied. 35 tombs were open. Of these, only 10 monuments have been preserved in its architectural integrity.
Thracian mound tombs Helvetia and Griffins were discovered in 1996. By disclosure, their condition every day is getting worse because of climate conditions and lack of restoration and conservation activities.
Thracian mound tombs Helvetia and Griffins are located in the world famous Valley of the Thracian Kings. Tombs Helvetia, Griffins and Shoushmanets form a unique complex of three Thracian tombs located relative to one another at a distance of 100-150 meters. Date back to the IV century BC.
Thracian tomb mound Helvetia was discovered and explored in 1996. The uniqueness of this tomb lies in its architectural planning decision and its artistic value as a monument of Thracian culture of national importance.
After its opening is built temporary protective structure is fitted door and met key measures of external drainage. Additional built permanent protective building timber frame ceiling. At the entrance is mounted on a metal door installed a security system in the protective structure is mounted switchboard with fuses, but not the luminaries and contacts to support systems.
Today the plaster in the chamber premises is covered with traces of leaks, areas at risk of self-destruction and salts covering much of the authentic Thracian coverage. Paints from natural dyes that cover the wings of the stone gate (east wing with red paint and western black) today have withstood the bad weather conditions, but over time their luster is almost gone.
An important fact which impresses Helvetia as a monument of Thracian religion are two benches, arranged perpendicularly to the ritual bed. Today the east bench is exported outside the cameras and stored in two halves that are leaning on the eastern wall of the hall. It needs to be restored and displayed appropriately.
The state of the sacrificial stone in the chamber is partially preserved with temporary wrapping perishable and prone to climatic materials. It is vital to carry out activities in conservation and restoration.
In its disclosure, the walls of the hall were partially dyed red, made after research found that it was animal blood. Nowadays remnants of blood almost absent.
Thracian tomb Helvetia is generally well preserved architecture. Observed pathologies can be grouped and described in the following main elements:
– A system of stone masonry cracks in the walls of the burial chamber and antechamber shows deformation of the structure
– Plastering the walls and ceiling of the burial chamber and antechamber – Renderings are especially valuable because the technique in which they are implemented “stucco lustro” elsewhere in the world is familiar to a much later stage. The surface of the plaster decoration is almost entirely covered with crystallized formations, mud and other deposits, leading to discolorations. The traces of mold are visible.
– Floors are dirty – floors are covered with a layer of dust and mud.
– Walls of dromos – Some of the stones in the upper edges of walls need strengthening.
Thracian tomb in the mound of Griffins was discovered and explored in 1996. The tomb is representative facade and fake relief, indiscreet entered in a rectangular field of blocks above the entrance to the first chamber pediment. The mound is a unique architectural monument of Thracian art without construction analogue precision and designated as the most representative in Thrace is the round dome camera. Central place it occupies ritual bed, which is precise decoration of plastic pins. In front of the bed is placed shaped block with plastic decoration and narrow red longitudinal line.
After the unveiling of the monument was built temporary protective structure is fitted door and met key measures of external drainage. Thereafter was built wooden protective structure. At the entrance is fitted wooden door inside the tomb is mounted switchboard with fuses, but not contact support systems.
The isolation of the monument from the external environment is not optimal. In spring and summer in the corridor infiltrate storm water and during the summer months is a process of condensation of water vapor on the walls of the tomb. Coupled with the lack of dehumidifiers, this is a prerequisite for the development of microorganisms and mold on the stones of the facility. Due to condensation, the walls of the facade are very wet, and combined with seasonal temperature differences part of the facade under the pediment is crumble.
More at the opening of the tomb members of the archaeological expedition found that pediment violated its architectural integrity due to instability and the friability of the stone and measures for temporary restoration and conservation are not taken today. Temporary protective structure fails to protect the pediment of climatic conditions and has contributed to the destruction of the remaining coverage over the corridor, which was made of flat and and curved tiles, which are now barely noticeable. It is carrying out emergency activities in conservation and restoration to be preserved pediment.
The main entrance of the temple was closed with double-leaf stone door. Door whose wings are healthy should be restored and exhibited appropriate in the tomb. The stone door that is closing the entrance to the round chamber today is leaning against the walls of the rectangular room and also need to be restored and displayed appropriately.
The narrow red longitudinal line of beaded block with plastic decoration proposals in the round chamber today is barely noticeable.
On the walls of a rectangular room noticed traces of humidity and distinct wet spots.
Griffons tomb is architecturally very well preserved. There are also the following pathologies:
– Cracks in some of the blocks
– Crystallization on the surface of the stone, caused by capillary moisture infiltrated
– Destroyed screed floor
– A slight curvature and tilt of the walls of the dromos
Eighteen years after the opening of mound tombs Helvetia and Griffins and the construction of temporary protective structures, the state of Thracian monuments every day worsens as climatic conditions and lack of restoration and conservation activities destroy the unique Thracian culture of interest as a cultural heritage not only for Bulgaria but also worldwide.
The investment project envisages conservation, restoration and socialization of Thracian mounds Helvetia and Griffins, including build a protective coating over the dromos of each tomb, placing the glazed metal platforms, providing access to the camera without stepping on the original plaster, building lighting and air space in and around the tomb Helvetia. At the foot of the driveway to the mound Shoushmanets the building of a reception building serving as an information center to serve the entire mound complex formed by the three tombs. It is envisaged that further improvement of the area around the tombs, including building area for recreation and a small parking lot. The project will add a modern and attractive for tourists kind of objects. Upon completion of his tomb will be open for visits by educational, research and purely amateur aim of different social groups. The project promotes social inclusion, providing target groups equal access to cultural heritage, an opportunity for scientific work, increased education and personal training, equal opportunities in the labor market and generally stimulate business development.
On the territory of the Valley of the Thracian Kings fully socialized and open to visitors are the tombs Kosmatka Shoushmanets and Kazanlak Tomb (copy). Thracian mounds Helvetia and Griffons are in a complex mound Shoushmanets, but only the latter is socialized and open free to visitors. In 2013, the completed project “Conservation, restoration and socialization of the mound Shoushmanets” OPRD with beneficiary Ministry of Culture. It is vital that the implementation of the project for the conservation, restoration and socialization of Helvetia and Griffins, not only to preserve these unique monuments for future generations, but for the valorisation of the objects of archaeological heritage of national importance in the complex and achieve added value tourist destination – Valley of the Thracian kings.