Vratsa is the only city in Bulgaria where a true Thracian gold treasure was found! And it wasn't somewhere in its outskirts, but right at the town's heart, buried in the locally well-known Mogilan Mound.
The trove is part of an opulent burial complex accidentally unearthed in 1965 in the yard of an old house, while digging the foundations of a future residential block. Archaeologists intervened in time to find three tombs beneath the half dug-out hill. The tombs' structure was most likely wooden and collapsed during the works. One of the tombs had been looted in antiquity and the other two, luckily for archaeologists, were untouched by treasure hunters. The remains of a male warrior with his weapon were discovered in the second tomb; among them the famous gilded silver kneepad with the image of the Great mother Goddess. The kneepad relates to one of the trove's mysteries: "Why is there just a single kneepad?". All other three knee pads found in Bulgaria and Romania raise the same question.
In the vestibule of one tomb, archaeologists dug out a Thracian chariot with two harnessed horses, the oldest one discovered in our lands. In its western part, they also found the skeleton of a 15-16 year-old girl, whose head was adorned with a splendid gold wreath depicting laurel twigs, as well as acorn-shaped gold earrings finely decorated with precious figurines. The conjecture is that the buried girl was a princess, the beloved wife of a Thracian ruler, probably ritually killed to be with him in his afterlife.
If you are curious about how the young princess looked, visit the Vratsa'a History Museum, where you can see the reconstruction of her face based on her skull. Her features have led anthropologists to claim that she was probably not a Thracian, but the daughter of a noble Greek ruler.
The tomb also contained 47 ornaments of pure gold, some bearing inscriptions that mention the name of the Odrysian ruler Kotis I, bronze and ceramic vessels and objects, as well as a set of magic figurines.
While excavating the third tomb, archaeologists found the skeletons of a man and a woman, along with gold and silver vessels and jewels. The opulent burial gifts, the artefacts found and the tombs provide the grounds for scientists to claim that those buried in the tomb were most likely aristocrats of a Triballi dynasty dating back to 4th century BC.
Much of the golden treasure from the Mogilan Mound can be seen in the Regional History Museum in downtown Vratsa, not far from where it was found.
The little park replacing the mound is not far from Vratsa's central square, on Rechka Street, the last one on the left, before Second June Boulevard.