Mystical stones

The rock sanctuary near the village of Dolna Koznitsa was a fertility rites site

The sanctuary near Dolna Koznitsa is a naturally formed pile of big stones, part of which were hewn later.

One of the most interesting rock sanctuaries in Bulgaria is located near the village of Dolna Koznitsa, in the region of Kyustendil, amidst a scenic hollow at the southern foothills of the Konyavska Mountain. Experts believe that the region was inhabited since ancient times as there are numerous excavated remains to prove it, even if no comprehensive in-depth archaeological research has been carried out there.

Among these remains is a marble stela weighting two tones, dated to 4th-2nd Century BC. The stela was part of a Thracian temple most probably dedicated to the Thracian Horseman.

The sanctuary near Dolna Koznitsa was built with the participation of members of the local municipal council of ancient Pautalia. The names of the leadership of this association are engraved on the plate. The names are Thracian, one is Greek, and one is Roman. Opposite some of the names there is information about the posts these people held, about members of the municipal council of Pautalia and members of the local village community. The stela is one of a kind of this size and is unique for Bulgaria.

In the vicinity were found several big ceramic jars (doliums). Nowadays, heaps of construction remains (stones from the destroyed foundations, bricks and roof tiles) as well as fragments of household earthenware (plates, jars, pots, etc.) are found on the excavation site.

The construction of the rock sanctuaries follows a strictly logical scheme which is determined by the characteristics of the terrain. It is noteworthy that many of them are copies of the human reproductive organs but of gigantic size. The idea is that the stone effigy of the human organ in reality can improve peoples' health and enhance earth's fertility.

It is assumed that this cult place emerged as early as in the Aeneolithic age and later was inherited as a sacred territory by the Thracian tribe Peoni who used it for performing fertility rites. The site includes several natural rock formations which were subsequently sculpted in antiquity. Most of these ancient sacred places are rock temples dedicated to the Sun, which in ancient Thrace was identified with the male deity who at the end of his self-perfection quest unites with the Thracian Orphic king.

According to legend, this was the place where Thracians performed their mystical fertility rites. Big flat, round stones are scattered about the meadow near the rock massif. Some experts think that these are the remnants of ancient feast tables while others believe that they were altar stones.

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