Megalithic monuments of Thrace (Greece)

Here we present some of the recorded Megalithic monuments of Thrace (Greece).

The sacred stone mushroom (Epiphaneia) of Lagyna

At the area around Lagyna village you can see a stone hillock standing upright on a slope with its upper part resembling a pointed shape:

lagyna 1

The stone sanctuary of Lagyna with the anthropomorphic niche

On the south slope of the “Psilokorifi” hillock at the Lagyna area we can see two elongated niches carved on the rock with anthropomorphic facade:

lagyna 2

The sacred stone mushroom (Epiphaneia) of the Petrotopos, Kotronias area

Nearly thirty dolmens and burial cysts cover the area of the small plateau on the north elongated side of which a small stream flows. In a place above the stream where local schist was vaguely resembling a mushroom, Thracian artisans carved it to what we see today:

Kotronias 1.png

Kotronias 2.pngKotronias 3.png

The sacred stone mushroom (Epiphaneia) of Dadia

At the area “Duo Vrahi” (Two Rocks) near the Dadia village and specifically on the southeast side of one of these two rocks we witness elongated and semicircular burial niches that have been carved on the rocky side with an iron tool as well as an alley for easier access to the top of the hillock and the carved tombs. A menhir in shape of a mushroom has been carved on the left hand side of the above mentioned rock:

Dadia 1.png

(…) The east side of the second rock bears basin carvings around the two burial niches that were possibly for offerings to the buried dead. On the back side of the rock you can see a ledge that had been carved with anthropomorphic characteristics.

dadia 2

The stone sanctuary of Kirki with the anthropomorphic niche

We can see a characteristic Thracian necropolis (…) 1300 m to the northeast of the Kirki village on a wide stone hillock. There are two streams flowing through the rocky hillock from north to south and are supplied with water from the springs on the slopes of the Panigiri mountain. On the west and east side of the rocky hillock we can see carved tombs – niches and basins on the tombs (…) On the east side of the rocky hillock we can see a carved anthropomorphic niche. 15 meters further north than the anthropomorphic niche there exists an oval rock carved in shape of a table with a flat top surface. A natural rock stands between the stone table and the anthropomorphic niche and the basin-like shape on top corroborates its usage as an altar. Smaller burial niches lie underneath the anthropomorphic niche:

Kirki.png

The sacred stone mushroom (Epiphaneia) A of Kirki

A stone mushroom carved on the natural rock stands upright 50 meters to the north of the open-air sanctuary with the anthropomorphic niche. Small basins have been carved on the rock next to the stone mushroom:

kirki mush1

The sacred stone mushroom (Epiphaneia) B of Kirki

The stone mushroom is situated 500 m far from the two previous monuments. The 2.5 m. high rock carved in shape of a mushroom

kirki mush2

The sacred stone mushroom (Epiphaneia) C of Kirki with the burial niche

The stone mushroom was carved on the already existent rock on its north and west side as it is apparent nowadays and there exists a carved burial niche as well as a basin on the stem:

kirki mush3

The Dionysus Sabazius sanctuary at Magazi (Ancient Zirinia, Zirinis or Zervae)

At the Magazi area which is situated near Kornofolia village, the ancient springs and the road network of the Roman period imply the existence of the ancient town called Zervae or Zirinis (…) At the above mentioned site we have found a relief mushroom on a flat rock next to two carved solar disks:

magazi 1

Magazi 2.png

And a small wine press nearby:

Magazi 3.png

Cavern big “Vuva Lefkimis”

On Gerakina hill, lying at the borders between the villages Lefkimi and Dadia, a cave known as “Great Vouva” was created by nature. A small stream flows from the top, whereas next to it an abstract phallus-shaped stone column was carved of about 2.5 m. The interior of the cave involves two non-equivalent chambers, which are separated by a natural rocky dividing wall. In the center of the big chamber the stone was carved providing thus a raised even place, in the background of which a shallow burial niche was carved, bearing two traverse hole on the right hand side most probably for offers. The superficial pottery within the cave involves hand-made fragments of the prehistoric times.

Lefkimi 1.png

Lefkimi 2.png

Three megalithic rock-cut tombs in top of elevation near the Chapel of prophet Elias

There is a stone hillock and an isolated rock lying on the northwest of the village Avantas, near the crossing of Avantas-Profitis Ilias – Kirki areas and stands out among the other peaks on the ridge. The whole rocky hillock is a burial monument, since three burial niches are carved:

tomb 1.png

tomb2.png

tomb 3.png

A stone tombstone lies on the inclined rock three meters away from the niches. The front of the tomb has been shaped respectively, so that a place for the covering stone would be created. This stone was held by the upper protuberance of the rock, which was carved in the inner side by a channel or a flange to retain it:

tomb 4.png

On top of the (Note: first photograph) tomb, two cavities are carved, of which the biggest collected rainwater as well. Around the cavity two channels were carved with bladed article, as well as two parallel lines that are cut through by two curved lines forming thus an incomprehensible shape:

tomb 5.png

Megalithic Thracian rock-cut tomb or rock-cut cave temple, in the village Νipsa of Evros

Seven not very large rock-cut caves have been documented in the eastern Rhodope Mountains, each of which has two entrances, one a horizontal, i.e., a “door”, and a second one on the roof of the dug chamber:

nipsa 1.png

nipsa 2.png

Kila

About 1600 m north to Kila village (Evros Prefecture) on a small hill, named Kale, one can trace the ruins of a small castle. Even though the hill is not high (205 m.) one can control the whole valley which spreads below to the East as well as the peaks of the surrounding hills.

On top of the hill, the remaining ruins consist of a precinct of an elliptic shape (position A),

kila 1.png

which surrounds the peak of the hill and is the lower acropolis (position B) whereas another smaller acropolis can be found further down on the southeast peak of the hill.

The lower acropolis precinct survives in form of a stone pile from freestones:

kila 2.png

Within the upper acropolis one cannot find ruins but for a stone pile of circular shape (position D)

kila 3.png

which may stem from the ruins of a hut of a circular shape. The Kale acropolis in the area of Kila, is of significant importance and lies at a salient spot from which one could control an area of 4-4.5 km to the West and Northwest up to the peaks of Sauktsu (260 m.), Germutzileri (386 m.) and Kotza andra (277 m.) at which fortifications may exist. One also could control an area of 9-10 km to the North and East. At the foothills streams entrench the hill which may have satisfied the residents’ needs in siege warfare.

To the northwest of the castle is a limestone hill, at the foothills of which lies a group of monumental megalithic graves (Dolmen) (…) Respectively, we can see in the photographs below: Dolmen with a hallway,

kila 4.png

without a hallway

kila 5.png

and cysts

kila 6.png

(Source: “Thracian Megalithic Sanctuaries from the Prefecture of Evros Greece“, by Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou, South-West University “Neofit Rilski” Bulgaria, taken from the Compendium “Megalithic Culture in Ancient Thrace“, 2015)

Research-Selection: Philaretus Homerides

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