Switzerland to Meet Bulgaria's Oldest Civilizations

Society | February 4, 2007, Sunday // 00:00

The museum in Basel, Switzerland, is bracing to meet some of Bulgaria's outstanding treasures from Thracian and pre-Thracian times.

The exhibition will present also the recently found golden mask of an unknown Thracian ruler, rivaling only few in the world similar artifacts of those period.
Swiss lovers of histories will see also a unique presentation of an ancient salt producing center, unveiled recently in Provadia. In that epoch, around 7400 B.C. salt was even more precious than gold.

The golden set of Vulchitryn treasure, currently exhibited in Sofia-based Archeological Museum, consists of 13 vessels, different in form and size. One of the vessels weighs 4.5 kg - a bowl with two handles, and the overall weight of the set is 12.5 kg, pure gold.

One of the vessels is exceptionally interesting and mysterious and consists of the smaller vessels of leaf-like form and connected with a small tube and having a single handle.

Opinions vary widely on when the Vulchitrun treasure was created and whom it belonged to. Many scholars believe it was created in the Mycenaean or post-Mycenaean period (1500-1100 BC), times known from the works of Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Others relate it to a much later period - 8th-5th c. BC and attribute it to the culture of the Thracians who had succeeded in building a vast state at that time.

Nowadays the first opinion prevails - that the treasure was produced in the Carpathian-Balkan region (the Balkan Peninsula) about the year 1300 BC.

The Vulchitrun Treasure is not only one of the oldest and richest in Europe, but also of high artistic value. Its decorations are product of all gold-working techniques known in antiquity: casting, hammering, beating out, with embossed ornaments covered with silver (the so-called nielo technique), and with welded handles. The forms of the vessels themselves are extremely original and strange.

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