Bulgaria's Plovdiv Launches Roman Stadium Restoration Project
The ancient Roman Stadium in the heart of the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv is to be restored in an archaeological project launched on Thursday.
Plovdiv Regional Administration has succeeded in obtaining European funding of over EUR 900 000 for the restoration of the site.
"The project envisages the construction of an ancient underground museum. Such museums exists in only a few places in the world, and it will be the first in the country," said Ivan Totev, Regional Governor of Plovdiv.
Modern presentation centers will also be built, and facilities for the disabled will be added.
Archaeologists will also excavate parts of the site, hoping to find further traces of early Roman times.
The stadium, which dates from the 2nd century AD, having been built during the rule of Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, is situated in the centre of the city, in Dzhumaya square.
Discovered in the 1970s, it has never been fully exposed, as most of its 180-meter length lies underneath the city’s principal shopping street.
The stadium is one of the largest Roman structures in the Balkans; it is estimated it could accommodate over 30 000 spectators at the games and contests once held there.
Plovdiv - known in Roman times as Trimontium, the City of the Three Hills - boasts several other Roman remains of historical importance.
They include the famous Amphitheater, which regularly stages concerts and artistic performances; the extensive remains of the Agora, or market place; sections of paved streets; and the remains of an aqueduct, and several temples, villas and numerous frescoes and mosaics.
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