Late antiquity fortress
The fortress rises in the northern part of the flat terrace, the so-called “Big Yaila”. It dominates the surrounding terrain and is separated from the sea to the north and the east with steep 20 m high cliffs. This allowed for the building of fortification walls only to the west and the south. Facing the mainland, four solid towers rise on the western wall, while on the eastern end of the south wall was once the gate of the fortress. Inside the fortified settlement was uncovered part of the main street, leading from the entrance to the center of the fortress, as well as a large building, probably serving as watchman premises. Of interest is also a stone staircase attached to one of the buildings, which indicates that it was once a two-storey building. A place of foremost importance for the fortress’s functioning and defense was the gate. It is of the tower-gate type, with two entrances. The outside entrance was closed off by a descending door (the so-called cataract) and the internal – by a double-door with massive wooden beams. Above the arched entrance rose the watchtower, which guaranteed better security of the gate and the ground around it. Various archaeological artifacts – made of copper, bronze, bone and clay, as well as the numerous coins demonstrate that the fortress in the “Yailata” was built at the end of 5th – the beginning of the 4th centuries. It was present at the time of the most devastating attacks of Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians. Its life continued until the last quarter of the 6th c., when it ceased functioning for about three centuries. Only in the 9th c. a Proto-Bulgarian village emerged around it. Like most villages in Dobrudzha, the one in “Yailata” was destroyed by the Pechenegs in the middle of 11th century. After that, this place was no longer populated.
More than 120 are the burial facilities discovered in the three necropolises in the reserve, carved into the rocky plain plateau or the steep slopes. Similar ones can be seen on the Crimean Peninsula. In the southern end of the “Yailata” terrace were explored several tombs of the so called “cave type”. They are cut in the base of the rock massif and consist of small halls that serve as entrances to the burial chamber. In one of the tombs was found a stylized image of a bull’s head – the only yielding decoration found so far in the explored necropolises. With few exceptions, almost all tombs were plundered in antiquity and modern times. The grave artifacts that were found – clay bowls, pots, bowls, lamps, bronze and iron buckles, glass beads, coins and others date back to the period 2nd – 5th c. AD. These were family tombs used for a long period of time.
Within the reserve one can see a large number of man-made caves. The so-called “cave city” consists of 101 single or grouped caves, located at different levels in the vertical rock slopes inhabited from the 5th millennium BC to 11th c. AD and used by people as houses, tombs or monastic cells and churches. Particularly popular among the tourists is the Klise Maara, also known as the rock church “Saint Konstantin and Saint Elena”. The cave’s second name was given in the 19th c. by the Christians that moved to Kamen Bryag and who, after several centuries of interruption, revived the religious life in this place. It is thought that initially Klise Maara served as a residence. The numerous crosses in the three rooms and the Proto-Bulgarian runic sign in the second room of the cave, however, show that during the early Middle Ages it was used as a Christian church, which operated by the end of 11th c. AD, and after a long break, it reopened in the 19th century.
Where: 18 km north of Kavarna and 2 km south of Kamen Bryag.
When: the reserve is open to visitors all year round; the best time to visit is from April to October.
For inquiries, please contact: tel. 0570 8 21 50 23 27 8 0570 – History Museum – Kavarna.
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