Baths and bathing in Late Antiquity from the territory of Bulgaria

Baths and bathing in Late Antiquity from the territory of Bulgaria
Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"                                                                DOI                                                 
Archaeology Department   
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Abstract:  The topic of baths and bathing in the territory of Bulgaria during Late Antiquity has not been studied independently until now. This is a part of a larger topic, related to the fate/change/decline of the ancient city in general. There is a number of obstacles and other factors, which determine more comprehensive research of the topic. This paper does not aim to provide full answers, but rather to highlight some issues, questions and hypotheses. This means that the present study summarizes and builds on the already known information in order to proceed to even more detailed research in the future. The current paper attempts to present all known baths from antiquity and compare them with those known from the Middle Ages. I also sought the link with the baths built after the end of the 14th century. Attention is paid to terminology, particular water springs, water transportation to the baths, architectural features, and parallels in some similar buildings.

Keywords: Late Antiquity, Baths, Bulgaria, Development, Periodization


One of the first explored ancient baths in Bulgaria is the thermal complex  Aquae Calidae[1] (Обр. 1). In the course of the preparation of this paper, the first summarized study of the aforementioned complex has been published, which examines the results of the research between 2008 and 2021[2]. Since 1910 there have been several publications on the subject that relate to particular aspects of baths and bathing[3],but there has not been any specific and specialized summarizing monograph on any monument[4]. A monograph on the thermae of Odesos was prepared for printing, but it never came to pass[5]. According to the architect Krasimira Vacheva, the Second[6] International Conference on Ancient Baths[7] was held in Varna in 1996, but the proceedings have not been published. Until 2003, there have been 117 known ancient bath buildings from Bulgaria[8], of which: 43 are thermae, 14 mineral baths, 6 military and 51 private baths[9]. The ancient baths in Bulgaria[10], which are included in this study are 93 in total[11] and are divided into three groups: baths of towns and fortresses; villa baths; mineral baths (Fig. 2). A few clarifications should be made here about the difference in the number of the aforementioned sites: in Durostorum, for example, there are indeed quite a few buildings that could have been baths, but the researchers themselves refrain from certain interpretations due to the specificities of the study[12]. Regarding an alleged bath from Serdica II, which will be discussed later in the text, Ventsislav Dinchev mentions that the building can be interpreted as a bath, however, this is not the only one case, because the building could also be “a dining room (triclinium) that belonged to a larger residential complex”[13]. In K. Vacheva’s book, there are also such baths that are repeated, while an additional indication of this is the lack of an attached plan[14].

Due to the lack of a monograph on the subject of baths, It was necessary to identify all the ancient baths so that those of Late Antiquity could be found.[15] The famous baths from the early and late Bulgarian Middle Ages are included here and their total number is 17 (Fig. 2) (Appendix 3). Our aim is to form a general idea, as far as possible, of whether there was a break in the use of this type of building between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is possible that there are omitted objects due to the fragmentation of the papers and the lack of monographs[16]. The selected literature presents mainly recent and summarizing studies, from which future researchers can find earlier publications concerning the objects of their scientific interests. In addition to these features, it is important to note that summary publications do not always offer a revision and a specification of the chronology of the baths[17]. For example, bath 2 in Durostorum[18] (Fig. 2, blue № 13) is dated on 2nd – 4th c. It should be stressed here that the chronology of the Bulgarian baths (Fig. 3) reflects the state of research on the subject, as noted about the aforementioned site. Precisely because of this conventionality along with the „extended” chronological boundaries –without clarification on the periods of functioning– the chronology produced is interesting but far from certain[19]. A recent problem, perhaps the biggest, apart from the lack of published objects[20], has been the inability to have access to scholarly literature written outside Bulgaria[21]. Catching up or rather updating the issues with what is known from the rest of the Empire is an obligatory quest in order to do further research on the subject [22].


Such a study, which in the future will have to re-consider thermae[23], concerns the presence of palestrae and gymnasiums in Bulgaria (Fig. 2). The only building that was suggested until recently to be not a thermae but a gymnasium was the building studied by the Italian archaeologist Antonio Frova, in Oescus[24] (Fig. 10). On the site of the thermae at Odesos, in which there is palaestra, there was an earlier bath, which may have been a gymnasium[25]. The presence of palestrae in newly excavated and long-known buildings becomes clear only in recently printed publications, regarding the legionary baths in Novae[26] (Fig. 11), the thermae in Augusta Traiana[27] (Fig. 12) and the bath “A” from Serdica[28] (Fig. 4), according to the designation of V. Dinchev[29]. The existence of such buildings can be linked to the importance of sport, or to architectural preferences and certainly to the Greek athletic tradition that influenced Roman architecture[30]. The combination of baths and a gymnasium (bath-gymnasium) allowed this place to combine training, sports and hygiene activities[31].

We have to pay attention also to the term thermae and its difference from the term balneum[32]. It is commonly considered that the difference is the size of the building and the ownership. Balneum­ are small and private, while thermae are the big baths, owned by the state or the city. Pliny was the first to use the term thermae in order to distinguish the new bath of Agrippa at Roma due to its scale[33]. Their disappearance in Late Antiquity is associated with high maintenance costs, but also with becoming a site of social, religious and ethnic conflict[34]. One of the major problems associated with the ancient baths of Bulgaria is the limited number of epigraphic records (Appendix 2), which could assist us to determine the ownership of the sites. Due to the aforementioned facts, a more specific period for the disappearance of the thermae, apart from Late Antiquity in general, cannot be supported.

For a fuller understanding of baths and bathing in general, but also specifically for Late Antiquity, we can get more insights from the state of the aqueducts. It is clear from the recently published books on the subject about the Empire and Bulgaria in particular, during the period of the 2nd – late 4th century (Fig. 13), that the water conveyance system functioned also during the 5th – 6th century[35] (Fig. 14). There are several indicative examples: the main aqueduct of Augusta Traiana was built under Marcus Aurelius, and functioned until the second half of the 5th century, then it was repaired and continued to function until the end of the 6th century[36];  the one in Odesos has been functioning since the middle of the 2nd century, until the end of the 4th – second quarter of the 5th when it was repaired and it is a topic of lively discussion if it continued to function in the 6th century[37]; the latest information about a repair of this type of facility that occurred under Tiberius Constantine (578-582) comes from Serdica[38]. By comparison, the main aqueduct that provided water to the new capital of the empire (Constantinopolis) was not built in a day, but over the course of centuries, during which there were many repairs. The aqueduct used a previously constructed portion to allow for further extension from the time of Valens and onward due to the increased needs of the city[39]. It is clear from the territory of the former Western Empire that the water system continued to function in Late Antiquity (Fig. 15). Since the 5th-6th centuries there have been almost no newly built water pipelines[40], but on the other hand, the old ones had been repaired - there are pipes with the name of Theodoric from Ravenna (474-526), while in Verona and Parma we also find his epigraphic records of repairs on aqueducts[41]. Undoubtedly, the reduced water supply contributed to the cessation of many baths during that era, but this cannot be the main reason for their disappearance[42]. This is supported by the baths, which were not only supplied by aqueducts, but also by the wells from which water was transferred by hand. One ancient example from Bulgaria that has not been proven is that of Oescus[43]. The method has been widespread in baths since the Middle Ages. On the other hand –  thermae surely cannot exist without aqueducts. Thus, on the one hand, the existence or not of water pipelines in function does not concern the small baths; while on the other hand, the lack of functioning water pipelines is not a reason that explains the smaller number of baths compared to the imperial era. This has more to do with practicality and the capability of supply; so in this case, smaller baths are easier and cheaper to maintain and use. Moreover in Late Antiquity cisterns were widely used, and it is possible to assume that water was also used for bathing from them, as there are many in Constantinopolis[44].


It has already been noted that the current chronology of the baths of Bulgaria (Fig. 3) should be regarded as a “rough estimate” general chronology, without pretensions of being entirely correct. It is formed mainly from the information contained in primary reports. Nevertheless, several findings can be drawn from it:

  1. Although the full and original picture of ancient bathing on the territory of Bulgaria can never be fully reconstructed, we cannot ignore the fact that the present chronology at least, even in its conventional nature, indicates that the most intensive use of baths took place throughout the 4th century (Fig. 3). This observation, of course, may change quickly due to the accumulation of future data, or its revision through the publication of records already known in the scholarly literature but not fully published;
  2. In comparison and in direct proportion with the baths of the villas, the baths in the towns and fortresses are fewer (Fig. 3). In 1997, when the book of professor Dinchev on the villas of Bulgaria was published, there was not enough information about the termination of the function of the baths. This is where the following example is extremely important: bath/building “I” from the villa complex at Madara (Madara 1) (Fig. 16-17) is related by the researcher to the sixth construction period – the second half of the 5th – the first quarter of the 6th century [45]. Dinchev is right in noting that the presented periodization “…is not supported by stratigraphic information and precise technical documentation”[46], but on the other hand, he does not accept the possibility that the bath was used in the aforementioned range, but in the period of the 70s of the 4th century– early 5th century[47]. Precisely because of the research on the villas the upper time limit of the baths cannot exceed the mid-5th century[48]. Indeed, there are no other baths on this date from villas in Bulgaria. One cannot help but wonder that if indeed the villa at Madara ceased to function, then what is the point of building a bathhouse on its ruins? The form of the bath itself along with its similarities with other baths will be addressed later in this text;
  3. Ancient baths, for which there is evidence that they functioned in the 7th century are the mineral baths of Stara Zagora[49], Acre[50], Mesambria[51] and Sozopolis[52] (Fig. 2-3). On the one hand, the reason for the functioning of these sites was that they were part of the Eastern Roman Empire[53], and on the other, as in the case of Sozopolis – the site has been studied very recently and is not so influenced by the established views of the scholar literature. The information about the Stara Zagora mineral baths is not completely correct because the study does not explicitly states that they used to function in the 7th century, but that was function “…in the 1st Assuming that they existed until the 12th century…”[54]. The dating is not also supported by published material. It is also possible that Aquae Calidae functioned in the 7th century, but this cannot yet be established with certainty[55]. If these sites were not known to science[56], then the picture of the chronology would indicate that there was a hiatus in the use of baths in the 7th century and that they began to be built again from the 8th century onwards (Appendix 3). Since there is evidence of baths from the 7th century, it is not possible to establish a chronological boundary between ancient and medieval baths.

Linear Baths

In the course of the work, it became clear that there were several baths with similar architectural solutions. This type formally falls under “linear/axial”[57] (Fig. 18), because of the consistent arrangement in a line of rooms. It is noteworthy that the praefurnium, which is often not structurally related to the rest of the bath, is located next to the caldarium, which is composed of three distinguishable parts: two of them are exedrae, in which the pools may have been located, while between them and the praefurnium there is a section with a straight wall. A total of six such monuments have been discovered in ancient cities in Bulgaria: Durostorum[58] (Fig. 19-20), Novae[59] (Fig. 11, 21), Oescus[60] (Fig. 10, 22), Kabyle[61] (Fig. 23-25), Augusta Traiana[62] (Fig. 12, 26-27). Four of the suburban villas: Augusta Traiana[63] (Fig. 12, 28), Madara[64] (Fig. 16-17), Montana 3[65] (Обр. 29), Filipovtsi district, Sofia[66] (Fig. 30). There are two other monuments around Serdica that are similar in architecture to the linear baths, but they are considered mausoleums: district Stefan Karadzha[67] (Fig. 31), district Lozenets[68] (Fig. 32). There were also at least 8 baths along the empire with similar characteristics (Fig. 18): Zenobia (Halabiye), Syria[69]; Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi, Syria[70]; Quseir 'Amra Jordan[71]; Barad, Syria[72]; Serjilla, Syria[73]; Antioch (Antakya), Turkey[74]; Hammam as-Sarah, Jordan[75]; Leptis Magna, Libya[76]. It is noteworthy that these baths were found in the east, and their development has been traced from the 2nd until the end of the 6th century (Fig. 33). We cannot answer, at this moment at least, if these are influences or if architects brought this type to the Balkans directly from there.

The number of linear baths from Bulgaria, as well as the uncertainty of their chronology, does not allow firm conclusions to be drawn, and due to the scarcity of information – little can be said about these sites. What made an impression on Prof. Georgi Atanasov was that the bath from the bishop’s residence in Durostorum has the closest parallel to the bath in the bishop’s complex in Novae[77]. It is interesting that there are churches near the two Kabyle. There is evidence of two churches from the suburban villa near Augusta Traiana that functioned one after the other during the period of Late Antiquity. One hypothesis, not intended to prove, but to suggest a topic for reflection, is whether churches were built around baths to be used as baptisteries[78]? In his recently published research on baths and bathing from the territories of the Western Roman Empire, Sadi Maréchal draws attention to how the layout of cities changed and what public buildings “co-existed” during the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries. As pointed out with the examples from Bulgaria, the proximity of these baths to churches is striking. A pertinent question that might be asked is whether the proximity of churches to baths was sought on purpose, given that the two building types, in Novae for example, were part of a single complex. An intriguing question is whether baths were used as baptisteries and if so if their presence marks an earlier stage in church construction (before the advent of the baptistery as a building). The material and method of construction of baths and baptisteries is similar, as both buildings have pools of water[79]. There is evidence of baptisms in pubic baths from John of Nikiû and Anani Shiraxi[80].

Under Pope Hadrian (772-795) there had been completed repairs to the Aqua Traiana in Rome in order for water to be brought to a bath and a baptistery near St. Peter[81]. We also learn from the Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae the presence of 8 thermae and 153 balneum in the new capital[82]. An interesting story by Bishop Sisinnius of Constantinople informs us how he proudly announced that he bathed twice a day only because he could not bathe three times[83]. The Church tolerated bathing as a hygienic and healing activity. There are cases of baths in combination with baptisteries[84].  Yet there is strong criticism from the early Christian Fathers such as St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Jerome and St. Augustine towards bathing[85]. These texts, however, are not to be considered as the official opposition of the Church to the practice of bathing or as an opinion of the ordinary Christian, but more as the support of the principles of zealous Christians, such as ascetics and virgins. Valens, Theodosius I and Justinian I financed and were patrons of the construction and reconstruction of baths. In such a context, the claim that baths and bathing were in decline due to Christianity is something that needs to be revised.

Baths, churches and martyriums in cruciform.

Another topic was defined in the course of the work, again due to the similarities in the layout, although this time the monuments were not only baths, but also churches and cruciform martyriums (Fig. 34). It was pointed out earlier that a supposed bath from Serdica[86] (Fig. 4, 35) should rather be considered as part of a residence[87]. The building is dated from the last quarter of the 3rd – first quarter of the 4th century to the first half of the 5th century. The research did not reveal the presence of any canals or water-piping. There is an open building with a similar layout in Augusta Traiana[88] but it is interpreted as a martyrium in its first period and in its second is interpreted as a church (Fig. 12, 36). It functioned as a martyrium in the second half of the 4th century and as a church in the middle of the 5th century[89]. Another building with a similar layout, but for which there are several interpretations and several datings, is the cruciform building under the great Basilica in Pliska[90] (Fig. 37-38). The building has been interpreted in various ways - as a church, a tomb, a martyrium (of Khan Tervel?), but certainly, it preceded the Great Basilica. The dating varies from the end of the 8th to the middle of the 9th century, from 865 until the construction of the Great Basilica or in the first half of the 8th century. In the monastery complex of the Great Basilica two baths from the second half of the 9th – early 10th century have been discovered[91] (Appendix 3, third period). It is interesting that during the excavations water pipes were found.[92]. Without being able to clarify definitively the character of the building, two more hypotheses will be added to the rest proposed interpretations and due to the purpose of the article, which is also based on the similarity with the building from Serdica – bath building/ part of the dwelling (triclinium). We will not deal here with the conversions of ancient baths into churches [93], but it is interesting that the legend of the founding of the Virgin Mary  (formerly an ancient bath and now the Kalenderhane Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey) provides us with information about how the site was chosen following a miraculous cure of a man, who had an eye disease, in that place[94]. Another similar site is the Church of St. Demetrius (Thessaloniki, Greece) which was built on the site of an earlier bath. If the case of the earlier building of the Great Basilica in Pliska is similar, then the construction of the church is related to the earlier structure, and namely with the water. Following the construction of the Great Basilica and the inability of using this particular bath, the practice of bathing in this place was preserved, while two new baths were also built for this purpose. If the case is about a villa with triclinium, there are currently no other contemporary similar structures or materials apart from the discovery of sarcophagiто[95].

Other Late Antique buildings, with a cruciform plan, originate from: Zikideva[96] (Fig. 39); village Botevo, province of Vidin[97] (Fig. 40); village Voden, Bolyarsko region[98] (Fig. 41); с. village Ivanyane, Sofia province[99] (Fig. 42); village Tserkviste (Klise Kyoi, near Zlatitsa[100] (Fig. 43); Saint Sofia in Serdica[101] (Fig. 44). The buildings of Zikideva, Botevo and Voden have been repeatedly examined in the literature due to doubts as to whether they represent martyriums. There is also a doubt about Saint Sophia whether the first building (church), preceding all the others, was not precisely a martyrium that had been transformed into a church, like in Augusta Traiana. The listed examples of cruciform buildings raise the question of whether in Late Antiquity, buildings with similar architectural plans could have different uses or different functions. Since buildings with a similar plan have different uses, then such a theory is not impossible, but there is a need for a separate study in order to ascertain this and we cannot do it in the current paper.


The lack of monographs and summarizing studies to complement the preliminary reports related to the topic of the ancient baths of Bulgaria prevents the further development of the study. This complicates both the interpretation and the periodization of the sites. Thermae disappear during Late Antiquity, but we cannot establish when exactly had occurred. The aqueducts needed to be maintained in order for these buildings to function properly and there is evidence of that in the 5th-6th century. As a general observation it can be deduced from the two distinct groups (Linear baths and Baths, churches and martyriums in cruciform) that although the buildings are interpreted to have one function, we can also note that in Late Antiquity buildings identical in the plan may have had different purposes, something, which is different from the Early Empire.

There are many baths in the Empire built during the Principate period (Fig. 45), but we have insufficient knowledge about those from the period of the Dominate. Bathing was directly inherited by Byzantium from Rome and the tradition remained alive in the Arab and Turkish societies of the East. It is considered that the bathing culture ended in the west during the 7th-8th century[102] (Fig. 46), however, there is evidence from the territory of modern Bulgaria that it continued into the Middle Ages (Fig. 3) (Appendix 3). During the conquering campaigns of the Turks from Asia Minor to the Balkans, they created small public baths, which were still in use in Constantinopolis during the 17th-18th century. There are also private and public baths, but, at least for the moment, the earliest secure examples are in places where there is mineral water and thus also old ancient bath complexes (Appendix 4). This shows again that no clear boundary can be established related to bathing buildings in this period, but rather contemporary understandings are reflected on our issue that is transferred in past periods. Each hypothesis can be confirmed or refuted, and only after the accumulation of new data on the baths from every era, we can clarify the other periods, because every period is related to the other. Overall, the topic is far from being fully developed and there is a need for work in order to continue our research, apart from this, everything that has been established until now it needs to be checked again.

Appendix 1:

Appendix 1 will include information that does not belong in the chronological picture of the 1st-7th centuries AD, but is related to the tradition of bathing in the Bulgarian lands and the Mediterranean world. The reason for such an addition lies in the lack of comprehensive research on baths and bathing in Bulgaria. The few publications that examine these sites and the issues surrounding them suffer from a lack of the „bigger picture”. In the case of all baths, whether of the Antiquity, the Middle Ages or the Ottoman period, they are often considered in the general context of a given era, but all conclusions are drawn on the basis of preliminary reports, without comprehensive results on bathing itself, constructions of buildings or something else.

In this respect, Thrace, as a part of the ancient world, should not be different from the trends of the rest Mediterranean world. These lands came under the rule of Alexander the Great's empire and here it should be noted that there is no bath from the territory of Bulgaria, dating from the period before Christ. There are earlier materials discovered in Aquae Calidae, but they are not related to structures from the same time.[103] The subject of the Greek baths is interesting and important, because this is also the prototype from which the Roman baths would later develop [104].

Appendix 2:

[----] fontis aquarum calidarum [------]

[-----ing]ressis veterique areae [-]e[-]u[---]

[-------]erat teporatis usque lavac[ris---]

[---------]s et odere penitu[s-------]

[---------] olium venerari et[--------]                5

[-----------]serant Veter[--------]


Latin text was discovered in the Roman baths of Diocletianopolis and dated to the 4th century [105].


Αὔτε ἐλύω καμῖν

οἳ τῷ ἐλέῳ εὐχολοῦσιν

Ancient Greek text was discovered during excavations in Philippopolis and dated to the 4th or 5th century[106].


Καλῶς ἐλούσω,          Bene lavasti,         You bathed well,               Добре си се изкъпал,

καλῶς σοι ἔστω.         bene tibi sit.          may it be well for you.      нека бъде добре за вас.

The text is a Latin salutation known from the martyrdom of Satur[107]. The greeting was used before and after a bath, and then turned into sarcasm. The same greeting is used after taking a bath in the Bulgarian language as well, with a sarcastic meaning too.

Appendix 3:

The baths in the early medieval Bulgarian centers are an integral part of monumental architecture[108]. Their appearance is associated with the monumental construction of the Khan's residence in Pliska[109]. In the 1960s there was a discussion about the nature and origins of medieval baths and not only about that. “According to the advocates of the theory of monumental architecture belonging to the Antique period. The Bulgarian early medieval centers and the baths with underfloor heating (hypocaust) are valuable proof of that (St. Mikhailov, D. Kranjalov). Supporters of the thesis of the early medieval Bulgarian character of this architecture, recognizing the ancient origin of the hypocaust in the baths, definitely accept them as medieval monuments (St Vaklinov, T. Ivanov, St. Boyadjiev)“[110]. By 1971, there have been known 3 baths, and by 1982, the number has been already 12 (Figure 2-3 There are such baths in Pliska, Preslav, Druaster and the assembly hall of Khan Omurtag. The preferred location for the bath buildings were the corners of the fortifications and they were also built in proximity to a palace-type residential building. Examples from well-preserved ancient or medieval bath buildings are used. The terminology for ancient buildings by Vitruvius is also used for the description of medieval Bulgarian baths. They are dated based on relative chronology (how they relate to surrounding structures), pottery, or other objects. Historical information is also used to draw parallels.

The study included 12 bath buildings[111], which are divided into 4 main groups, according to architecture and dating.

  1. The first group is represented by 2 monuments in the palace complex of Pliska. These baths had only 2 rooms each, the larger ones containing bathing facilities with floor and wall heating and small baths for bathing with hot water. In the small rooms were the furnaces and boilers for heating the water. Both lack changing rooms and cold water facilities. These baths were domestic, as they used to be in Roman times “…but they continued to be used in the Middle Ages over a wide geographical area”[112];
  • A bath that consists of two parts, south of the big pool – this is earlier than the other one and is the earliest medieval bath in Bulgaria. It is related to the construction of the first period in Pliska and its construction dates back to the first half of the 8th The bath seems to have been damaged during the fire and destruction of the Khan’s residence in 811 AD, but it was rebuilt and reconstructed immediately afterward. Above the boiler room there was a second bathroom, which was considered a laconicum. It is adjacent to a non-residential building (?);
  • In the western half of the Small palace of Pliska there is a two-part bath, which was additionally fixed, it was made during the second construction period and dates back to the first half of the 9th century. (combination of a residential building with a bath);
  1. The second group[113] is represented by three monuments, which are characterized by “regular” (enfilade) type buildings, usually with 4 rooms. Only the Round Bath is not like them, and differs from all the rest. They date from the second half/late 8th and early 9th The Round Bath belongs to the first construction period, while the building “F” standing over its remains originates from the second construction period and has been erected during the restoration of the Khan’s residence, which took place after 811. The bath in the assembly hall of Khan Omurtag was built soon afterward and is similar to the bath “F” from Pliska. It is presumed that it was built at the same time as the other structures in the assembly hall during 821/2 or a little later;
  • Only the Round Bath is not like the other baths of these groups and differs from all the rest[114]. This is the largest building, equipped with more varied rooms. The circular premises have a pool in the middle, perhaps with a dome at the top, similar to those of the Roman baths. It is defined as a tepidarium. The rest of the rooms are arranged in an axis (changing room, hot water pool, furnace with boiler room and a service room) (praefurnium), behind them. It is classified as a regular type of bath, although with some reservations. In addition to the large room there was another room, which is square and has a separate (independent) The bath plan resembles the two-row, block-type buildings due to these rooms;
  • Building “F” in the palace complex in Pliska[115] is a simple row structure type that has an elongated rectangular shape, with a length-to-width ratio of 3:1. It corresponds to the main part of the Round Bath and differs from the Round one because it has cold water baths;
  • The bath in the assembly hall of Khan Omurtag[116] is a simple row type that has an elongated rectangular shape with a length-to-width ratio of 3:1. It corresponds to the main part of the Round Bath while it differs from the Round one because it has also cold water baths.
  1. The third period[117] is related to the second half of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century and is represented by 3 monuments in Pliska. All are of the type of row buildings characteristic of the second stage, but with a number of different features (external outline – composed of 2 differently wide parts. In the narrower one is placed a furnace combined with the boiler room, and in the wider one there is the bath part). Originally they were three-part structures. They include the usual medieval bath dressing-changing room with a bath for cold water, a warm bathing room and possibly a sweating room above the boiler. The service room in front of the furnace was usually additionally arranged. In front of the first bath they used to build a portico, а cover, or a new structure, because there was a hypocaust below the rooms[118]. They consist of a mixed block and brick construction along with the peculiar cruciform shape of some of the rooms in the buildings at the Great Basilica. Bath 2 was probably covered with a high dome, as in the Byzantine baths of that time;
  • Building „K” in the palace complex of Pliska;
  • Monastery complex at the Great Basilica in Pliska (1);
  • Monastery complex at the Great Basilica in Pliska (2);
  1. The fourth period[119] is represented by 4 buildings. They date from the second half/end of 9th to the end of 10th They belong to the row (enfilade) type of structures with 3 or 4 rooms, depending on whether they have a service room in front of the furnace. They are also defined by their rectangular shape. The baths of the 10th century do not differ from those built in the 8th/9th century, although, the materials and the construction techniques were changed. “The last two of them are built mainly by broken stones, pieces of bricks and tiles cemented with white mortar. Limestone blocks, whole bricks and red mortar were only used in certain places”[120]:
  • Preslav (1)
  • Preslav (2)
  • The small bath from the palace complex in Pliska
  • Drastar/Durustorum (the latest bath – mid/second half of the 10th century).

The following statements are interesting:

“The hypocaust columns are most often made of reused antique bricks, although some of the baths have a medieval origin.”[121]. The hypocaust of the Round Bath, Bath №2 at the Basilica near Drastar is made of monolithic pillars – this is typical for the medieval baths of the Chersonesus and Transcaucasia, but it can also be spotted in ancient buildings in Bulgaria. There is a hypocaust with clay pipes in Pliska and Preslav (the two-part bath, south of the water reservoir and the Inner city). There is wall heating in the baths of the First and Second periods, but it is absent after the middle of the 9th century.

„As for the claim that hyocaust baths are typical only for ancient towns and castles, it has been already turned down during the course of the research. The discovery of baths from the 10th-11th centuries in Preslav and Druaster clearly shows that their construction was known and typical for the early medieval Bulgarian centers for a relatively long period of time. The presence of baths with heating installation of the type of the ancient hypocaust in the early Middle Ages is evidenced by their discovery in similar buildings in a number of cities and fortresses in Byzantium, the Arab Caliphate, Armenia, Georgia, Kievan Rus and Western Europe.”[122].

            According to Pavel Georgiev, the bath construction among the Slavs was of the Russian folk bath type[123]. It is distinguished by the Slavic mass dwelling, namely a dugout with its wooden walls and a roof. There is a Slavic settlement at the ruins of ancient Montana with a structure similar in type but made of overused ancient materials that were used to construct a bath (there is also a pagan sanctuary, A/N)[124].

The author suggests that the bath of the Proto-Bulgarians was similar in character to the yurt [125]. The Proto-Bulgarians learned to build monumental architecture in the 7th-8th century on the northern Black Sea coast. The process of penetration of such monumental architecture, among the population of Saltovo-Mayaki culture, took place during the 8th-9th century. “The general decline of life in the ancient cities on the northern Black Sea coast in the 7th century also prevented the Proto-Bulgarians from mastering the monumental and in particular the bath construction before their settlement south of the Danube. However, this does not mean that we should completely exclude the possibility that their aristocracy knew the classical type of bath from the cities of the northern Black Sea coast.”[126].  I understand what has been quoted so far as: the decline of the Byzantine Empire in Chersonesus, which led to a lack of bath buildings there means that it is not sure if they learned how to build such buildings from that place. On the other hand, when the Proto-Bulgarians came to the Danube, there were also no buildings of that kind of architecture functioning at that time, but when they encountered abandoned/decaying/existing architecture, be it for churches, baths, etc, the (the Bulgarians) learned by observation how to build such architectural structures [127].  According to another more recent theory, the architectural style of the First Bulgarian Kingdom was based on contemporary Byzantine influence [128].

The analysis and comparisons with the baths of the rest of the Mediterranean world made by Pavel Georgiev contradict his other conclusions quoted above:

“The analysis of the data from our monuments and their comparison with abundant comparative material indicate that early medieval bath construction in our country emerged under the influence of a living ancient tradition[129]. The centers of this tradition cannot be sought on the territory of the Arab Caliphate, Transcaucasia or Central Asia and Volga Bulgaria. Early Bulgarian bathhouse construction originated on the territory of the former Roman province of Lower Moesia (Moesia II), where the construction of such bathhouses had a centuries-old practice. The comparison of the earliest of our baths with the Late Antique and Early Byzantine bathhouses here convinces us of the great similarity between them. Their similarity in terms of the layout and construction of the heating system, water supply and sewerage is particularly clear. In relation to the ancient bath construction, the early Bulgarian one seems to represent a later stage of development (still of the Antique time, A/N). However, the discontinuation of the tradition of bath construction in the Bulgarian lands after the middle of the 6th century excludes the possibility that it played an independent role in the emergence of the early Bulgarian baths nearly two centuries later.[130]. This being the case, the most likely area from which technical experience and knowledge for this type of construction could have been drawn was the neighboring Byzantium, which inherited and developed the ancient principles in the construction of classical baths without any interruption. Unfortunately, however, the nature of Byzantine bathhouse construction in the period 8th-10th century remains unexplored and we do not have concrete data to trace its relationship with the early Bulgarian one. This makes it difficult to determine the exact origin of our baths. It is not impossible, given the ancient features of some of them, that their immediate source or prototype derives from some old cultural center where the ancient tradition in this construction was not completely interrupted and was revived by Byzantium in the 8th century. Such cultural centers could be expected along the southern Black Sea coast and in Eastern Thrace, where sources note some building activity around the middle of the 8th century. The Bulgarian state and culture came into close contact with these areas early on and undoubtedly experienced their beneficial influence due to the assimilation of the ancient heritage” [131].

In addition to this, the functioning and construction of bath buildings continued in the following centuries. For example, there is a medieval bath in Thessaloniki that has been researched, preserved and exhibited,[132] and was functioning from the second half of the 12th/first decades of the 13th  century. There are also baths after the 10th century in Bulgaria – in Kaliakra, Tarnovgrad, Shumen, Cherven, which date back to the 14th century, as well as in the monastery “St. John the Prodromos” dating from the 12th-14th century[133]. For Kaliakra it should be added that the bathhouse there was probably built in the 14th century, but continued to function in the 15th century, which may be an isolated case.

In Western Europe there are miniatures[134], depicting baths and bathing from the 13th-15th century.

Appendix 4:

The following statement can be given as an example of the common belief on the subject of bathing in Late Antiquity: “Bathing was gradually transformed from a hygienic habit into a luxury that was not difficult to live without. It seems that this is largely the reason why, at least in the Balkans, where under the influence of the already established Christian life norms, or as a reaction against the behavior of the new conquerors – the Ottoman Turks, who as Muslims they had a cult related to the water, the locals neglected the natural hygienic needs. In Bulgaria, for example, going to a bath was seen as an event that was often accompanied by a special ritual until the beginning of the 20th century. According to published memoirs, in a town like Tarnovo, for example, a few friends would sometimes get together for a rare bath, prepare food and drink, order music and then go to bathe. On leaving the bath, the orchestra greeted them with festive music, and then, happy and contented made their way to sit under some thick shade of a tree, where they began to drink until evening.”[135]. Although the present text proceeds from the temporal picture of Late Antiquity, as has been pointed out - a few remarks need to be made which are essential for the present article:

  • The cited article offers a study examining bathing during the Late When only one factor is considered, the written records, in this case, it seems that after the 4th century, people stopped bathing due to the influence of Christianity. Nevertheless, the archaeological information on the bathhouses of Bulgaria (Fig. 2-3), although not published in its entirety, provides examples that eloquently confirm that such buildings existed during the Roman period, Late Antiquity, and Early and Late Middle Ages. We cannot speak about the interruption of the practice of bathing, because of decline, religious reasons, or destruction. The main reason for the poor knowledge of these monuments is due to the fact that there is not a single bath that has been fully researched and published, no matter from which era it originates;
  • There is evidence of both public and private bathing in the late medieval/Ottoman period[136]. There are public baths (hammams) in the big cities (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Berkovitsa, Kyustendil, Melnik, Sandanski, Veliko Tarnovo, Ihtiman, Shumen, Razgrad, Oryahovo, Montana, Lovech, Razlog, Gotse Delchev, Kavarna, Haskovo Nassebar, etc.). They form a single complex with mosques and caravanserais[137]. In the houses, the bathrooms are located between the sobata (bedroom) and the “home” (v’kushti) (multipurpose room/ living room with fireplace), the back of this room with the hearth were needed in order to heat the water;
  • There are data about 4-5 baths in Sofia for the period between the 18th century – 1870.[138]. Evliya Çelebi informs us about five baths: female, Christian, Greco-Latin, Jewish and one more. The French artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres completed his famous painting “The Turkish Bath” (Fig. 49) between 1852 and 1862, influenced by the letters of the wife of the British ambassador in Istanbul, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), from 1716.[139] Her texts report on her experiences in the mineral bath in Sofia[140]. In 1870, Dr. Hochstetter reported four baths: a male bath; a women’s bath for Turkish women; a women’s bath for Bulgarian women; and a Jewish bath. In all likelihood, the most baths seen by travelers were around the Feshkia Bayna Bashi Mosque (tur. fiskia/fiskiya = reservoir, water-fountain, fountain, sandirvan, A/N)[141] (Fig. 6-7, 9). What is more interesting is that the excavated ancient bathhouse is found on this site, which is a part of the Late Antique Bath “B”[142] (Fig. 4-5). Curiously, then, there are baths from the Late Antiquity, the Ottoman period and the modern ones because the Central Bath was built in 1913[143] (Fig. 8). The reason for this is the presence of mineral water, which has been repeatedly used. The Church of St. George (Gül Mosque) used to be also a bath from Late Antiquity [144] (Fig. 50-51). On the eastern side, there was a grave of a Turk, a Turkish school and a fountain “…from which the Bulgarians drew water for their health”[145]. The church of “St. George” has been the cathedral since the 15th century and there are preserved the relics of King Stefan Milutin[146]. The relics of St. John of Rila are also there and they are exhibited for the worshipers (1469), who are on their way to the Rila Monastery. The church was converted into the Gül Mosque during the reign of Sultan Selim I (1512-1520) and the frescoes were painted over. In 1915 the minaret was demolished and the frescoes were cleaned; 4 layers of frescoes were uncovered. The remains of Prince Alexander I Battenberg were laid there in 1893 until the completion of the mausoleum in 1898;
  • According to Evliya Çelebi in the mid-17th century bathing in Eski Zara (Stara Zagora), took place in 5 public hammams (from hami – warm in Arabic; hammams with mineral water are called lodges, A/N), separately there were also 200 private (home) baths[147]. Dr. Poyé reports 5 hamпams in the city in the mid-19th century. Stara Zagora mineral baths are located near the town and represent a bath complex from the Roman era. Their repair is reported in an inscription from 1748[148]. The bathrooms were also used before their repair[149];
  • There were 4 hammams in Varna[150]: Piri Pasha, reported by Evliya Çelebi in the mid-17th century; Eski Hamam (early 19th century); in regard with the Shukru Bey Hamam, the Škorpil brothers report that construction began in 1871, and between 1912 and 1914, the heirs of Shukru Bey built a new bathhouse on the same site; the Greek bath was built in the 1860s.

It cannot escape our attention how ancient mineral water baths continued to be used during the Ottoman period. The reason is precisely the presence of mineral water, which is the basis of the functioning


[1] Бояджиев 2006, 37.

[2] Филов 1910, 217; Филов 1911, 283; Момчилов, Класнаков 2021б, 7.

[3] Кожухаров 1964, 1-6; Буюклиев 1991, 128-129; Вачева 1994, 1-8; Иванов 1995, 19-27; Бояджиев 2006, 37-79; Калчев 2009, 89-91, 100; Динчев 2011, 101-124; Камишева 2014, мозайка в термите на Augusta Traiana; Лозанов и др. 2014, 679-682; Марков 2017, 341-345; Appendix 1.

[4] The legionary baths in Novae have been published in their entirety, but given the fact that the research is international, the book was published abroad and the articles are mainly written by polish researchers, this site cannot be understood as the result of Bulgarian scientific efforts. (Biernacki 2016).

[5] Вачева 2008, 340. Concerning the thermae of Odesos there is printed a small booklet, which should rather be called a “leaflet” (Георгиев, Пе. 2006).

[6] The first international conference on Roman baths and bathing took place in 1992 in Bath (England), and the proceedings were collected in two volumes of the Journal of Roman Archaeology, supplementary series (DeLaine 1999).

[7] Watscheva 2010, 8. It is strange why a book by architect Vacheva, which contains brief information and plans of the famous baths in Bulgaria until 2003 has been written mainly in German.

[8] The territory of Bulgaria is divided between three dioceses – Illyricum, Thracia и Macedonia, which contain the following provinces: Dacia ripensis, Dacia mediterranea, Moesia secunda, Scythia, Thracia, Rhodopa, Haemimontus и Macedonia secunda (Динчев 2021, 274).

[9] Watscheva 2010, 21-22.

[10] Филов 1910, 217; Филов 1911, 283; Иширков 1912, 33-34; Иванова 1939, 318-319; Цончев 1940, 85-107; Златев 1955, 63-74; Димитров и др. 1965, 144, 177-178; Döhle 1979, 63-71; Gomolka 1979, 43-45; Николов 1980, 5-73; Николов и др. 1980, 84-86; Георгиев, Па. 1982; Николов и др. 1983, 68-69; Дремсизова-Нелчинова 1984, 74-124; Йосифова 1985, 149-159; Николов и др. 1985, 120-121; Николов, Калчев 1985, 31-48; Николов, Калчев 1986, 39-66; Чимбулева 1988, 577-584; Буюклиев и др. 1990, 94-96; Буюклиев и др. 1991, 126-128; Буюклиев 1991, 128-129; Маджаров 1993; Динчев 1997; Буюклиев, Калчев 1999, 335-343; Genčeva 1999, 95-98 ; Балабанов, Петрова 2002, 237-25; Калчев 2002, 31-33; Маджаров, Маджаров 2002, 199-217; Прешленов 2002, 59-80; Торбатов 2002, 161-167; Iossifova 2002, 255-259; Атанасов 2005а, 100-112; Atanasov 2005b, 275-287; Бояджиев 2006, 37-79; Георгиев, Пе. 2006; Иванов и др. 2006; Йосифова 2008, 136-161; Рашев 2008, 125-126; Watscheva 2010; Динчев 2011, 101-124; Ciołek, Dyczek 2011, 11-43; Атанасов 2012, 28-45; Миков 2012, 213-259; Топалилов 2012а; Ivanov, R. 2012a, 1-43; Ivanov, R. 2012b, 45-108; Ivanov, R. 2012c, 109-153; Ivanov, R. 2012d, 155-197; Ivanov, R. 2012e, 467-491; Katsarova 2012, 261-287; Kirova 2012, 199-260; Madzarov 2012, 439-466; Petrova 2012, 289-361; Preshlenov 2012, 493-536; Topalilov 2012b, 363-437; Дражева, Недев 2013: 468-470; Атанaсов, Михайлов 2014, 213-245; Дражева, Недев 2014, 252-255; Стоилова и др. 2014; Вълчев 2015, 234-235; Дерменджиев 2015, 218-227; Atanasov 2015, 493-587; Dinchev 2015, 173-196; Karayotov 2015, 117-172; Petrova, Petkov 2015, 341-492; Димитров и др. 2016, 530-533; Иванов, Ноева 2016, 546-549; Николова 2016, 299-313; Стоилова и др. 2016; Biernacki 2016; Pillinger und alles 2016a; Pillinger und alles 2016b; Димитрова 2017, 23; Николов, Гюрджийска 2017, 429-431; Popova 2017, 57-96; Богданова и др. 2018, 162-164; Кабакчиева 2018, 467-478; Марваков, Господинов 2018, 337-339; Стюърт 2018; Щерева 2018, 117-125; Ivanov, M. 2018, 102-129; Баралис и др. 2019, 334-335; Димитров и др. 2019, 380-382; Русева-Слокоска, Кацарова 2019, 135-156; Богданова и др. 2020.2, 626-629; Иванов, М. 2020, 120-124; Йотов, Минчев 2020, 855-857; Камишева 2020а, 986-990; Камишева 2020б, 1007-1011; Кацарова 2020, 271-284; Кацарова, Петкова 2020, 993-997; Александров, Станчев 2021, 775-779; Димитров и др. 2021, 595-598; Динчев 2021, 273-316; Кабакчиева 2021, 606-611; Костова, Харбалиева 2021, 756-759; Минчев 2021; Минчев и др. 2021, 642-644; Момчилов, Класнаков 2021а, 804-807; Момчилов, Класнаков 2021б, 9-210; Найденова 2021, 1042-1047; Христева, Станев 2021, 713-718; Katsarova 2021, 157-178.

[11] Given a large number of baths and the limitations of space, individual cases will be considered here, while the rest will remain a subject for future work.

[12] Иванов и др. 2006, 186-225.

[13] Динчев 2011, 120.

[14] Watscheva 2010, 47-48 №75-79, 106-108 Abb. 60-63.

[15] The following quote illustrates the general understanding of the subject of baths in Late Antiquity in Bulgaria: “The gradual establishment of Christian norms in every day during the centuries, following the establishment of peace in the church, led to a change in the attitude of Late Antiquity society towards bathing. The quest for spiritual salvation was tied to the idea of bodily mortification and moral purity. The inhabitants of the vast Roman empire, for whom bathing and baths have been a part of their civilization in the preceding pagan centuries, began gradually to abstain from them. The sermons of some of the early Christian Fathers along with the widespread descriptions of the lives of hermits and monks, which became role models, played a major role in the changing of attitude regarding this aesthetic hygienic practice” (Марков 2017, 341). The point of this study is to show that despite the writings of the early Christian fathers against bathing – not only it was not forbidden and continued to develop, but also the church itself used to build, own and repair baths. (Yegül 1992, 314-323; Yegül 2010, 199-206; Yegül 2014, 322; Maréchal 2020, 208-210).

[16]There are ancient towns in Bulgaria –until 1922– where baths have not been found, such as Marcianopolis (Ангелов 2002, 105-122), although an aqueduct has been discovered there (Църов 2017, 101-102), or the down of Zaldata (Moreau and all 2020, 43-44), where a water spring and a cistern have been found.

[17] Ivanov, R. 2012a, 1-43; Ivanov, R. 2012b, 45-108.

[18] Иванов и др. 2006, 211-212, 371; Watscheva 2010, 34 №24, 84 Abb. 19.

[19]The ancient baths are an intriguing archaeological site and the problems associated with them are really interesting. Often, but not exclusively, the choice of location for the construction of earlier and later baths is repeated. If there are earlier and later baths on the same site, the earlier ones cannot be examined because of the already present buildings. On the other hand, precisely because of the layering and the stratigraphically higher position of the later sites – they are threatened due to modern constructions. As an example, the site of Feshkiya Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia can be given (Fig. 4-9), in whose place different buildings have been constructed over the years: a military bath is assumed to be there; bath “B” as B. Dinchev designated it, functioned in Late Antiquity; baths from the Ottoman period and after 1878; Central bath, built in 1913 and now a museum (Бояджиев 2006, 37-38; Динчев 2011, 113-115; Стоилова и др. 2014, 88-89; Иванов, Ноева 2016, 546-549; Иванов, М. 2020, 107-114; Appendix 4). All these baths were built in the same place, in different eras, for one reason - the availability of mineral water. It should be noted that it is not known if there was a bath in this place during the Middle Ages, but the church off St. Ivan Rilski (St. John of Rila) was found there and is dated on the 12th c., so it is not impossible that there was a bathhouse too (Иширков 1912, 27). On the other hand, the mere presence of mineral water does not mean that there was any need for a bath building there at all costs. It is also unclear what was the condition of the remains of the earlier buildings. Also, as a consequence of earthquakes – the water spring maybe has dried up, or may it could be gushed elsewhere.

[20] Except in the book of architect Vacheva, due to the circumstances already outlined, there is not even an independent plan of bath from Abritus. (Watscheva 2010, 28 №1, 75 Abb. 1).

[21] Yegül 1992; Fagan 1999; Crow and all 2008; Yegül 2010; Yegül 2014, 299-323; Hanson 2016, 161, 164; Underwood 2019; Zytka 2019; Maréchal 2020; Lavan 2021a, 508.

[22]I Would like to take this opportunity to thank several specialists on the subject, who without their help this paper could not have been written.: Assoc. Prof. Zlatomira Gerdjikova (Institute of Balkan Studies with the Center of Thracology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences); Elena Nikolova, PhD student in the University of Sofia
St. Kliment Ohridski”, the title of her dissertation is “Roman baths in Moesia and Thrace 1st-4th century”; Maria Avramova, PhD student in the University of Warsaw “Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Center” the title of her dissertation is  “Thermalism in Roman Thrace (1st – 4th century);  Assist. Prof. Nikolai Sharankov (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”).

[23] Бояджиев 2006, 37-79.

[24] Кабакчиева 2000, 13.

[25] Прешленов 2002, 69.

[26] Biernacki 2016, 20-21.

[27] Popova 2017, 57-96.

[28] Katsarova 2021, 157-178.

[29] Динчев 2011, 101-113.

[30] Maréchal 2020, 20, 457.

[31] Yegül 2014, 316.

[32] Yegül 1992, 43; Fagan 1999, 14-19; Yegül 2010, 48-51; Yegül 2014, 300-301; Underwood 2019, 32-38; Maréchal 2020, 4-6.

[33] Kontokosta 2019, 50, 69.

[34] Pickett 2021, 375-407.

[35] Hanson 2016, 164; Църов 2017, 13-14; Lavan 2021a, 508 ; Lavan 2021b, 371.

[36] Църов 2017, 149.

[37] Църов 2017, 103-119; Кузов 2019, 72-93.

[38] Църов 2017, 124; Ivanov, A. – in print.

[39] Crow et al. 2008, 167.

[40] Underwood 2019, 81.

[41] Ibid., 72.

[42] Ibid., 87-88.

[43] Кабакчиева 2021, 607.

[44] Crow et al. 2008, 125-155, 211-219.

[45] Дремсизова-Нелчинова 1984, 102-103, 113, 116.

[46] Динчев 1997, 78.

[47] Ibid., 78-79.

[48] Ibid., 20.

[49] Димитрова 2017, 23.

[50] Iossifova  2002, 255-259; Йосифова 2008, 154.

[51] Чимбулева 1988, 582-583; Watscheva 2010: 41 №56, 95 Abb. 42; Preshlenov 2012, 518-520.

[52] Богданова и др. 2020.2, 626-629.

[53] Грозданова 2018, 164.

[54] Димитрова 2017, 23.

[55] See note. № 17.

[56] Ivanov, A. – in print.

[57] Zytka 2019, 52. Първи тип.

[58] Ivanov, R. 2012b, 59, 66; Watscheva 2010, 34 №24, 83 Abb. 17; Иванов 2006, 213-219, 342-349, 367-368.

[59] Watscheva 2010: 45-46 № 71, 100-101 Abb. 54-55; Biernacki 2013, 735-754

[60] Watscheva 2010, 48 №79, 108 Abb. 63; Кабакчиева 2018, 476.

[61] Лозанов 2006, 145-176; Watscheva 2010, 37-38 №44-44, 90 Abb. 31-32; Лозанов и др. 2014, 679-682; Николова 2015, 299-313.

[62] Николов и др. 1980, 84-86; Николов и др. 1983, 68-69; Николов и др. 1985, 120-121; Николов Калчев 1985, 39-44; Николов, Калчев 1986, 48-50; Калчев 1992, 54-55, 65-66; Калчев 2009, 80-84; Watscheva 2010, 29 №6, 77 Abb. 5; Ivanov, R. 2012e, 485; Камишева 2014, mosaic on the road “Граф Игнатиев”; Pillinger et al. 2016a, 135-138; Pillinger et al. 2016b, Abb. 237-24.

[63] Буюклиев и др. 1990, 94-96; Буюклиев 1991, 128-129; Буюклиев и др. 1991, 126-128; Калчев 1992, 53; Буюклиев и др. 1999, 335-343; Калчев 2002, 31-33; Калчев 2009, 86-89; Ivanov, R. 2012e, 485-486; Камишева 2014, peristyle building extra muros; Pillinger et al. 2016a, 160-163; Pillinger et al. 2016b, Tafel 108-110.

[64] Дремсизова-Нелчинова 1984, 102-103, 113, 116; Динчев 1997, 74-79, Watscheva 2010, 40 №53, 94 Abb. 40.

[65] Динчев 1997, 37-40; Watscheva 2010: 42-43 №62, 96 Abb. 47.

[66] Kirova 2012, 247-249.

[67] Ibid., 250-251.

[68] Ibid., 252-254.

[69] Maréchal 2020, 178-179.

[70] Yegül 1992, 339-349; Maréchal 2020, 178-180.

[71] Yegül 1992, 339-349; Maréchal 2020, 179-181.

[72] Yegül 1992, 329-339; Yegül 2010, 192-198; Maréchal 2020, 187.

[73] Yegül 1992, 329-339; Yegül 2010, 192-198; Maréchal 2020, 187-188.

[74] Yegül 1992, 339-349.

[75] Ibid., 339-349.

[76] Ibid., 242-243.

[77] Атанасов 2005а, 100-109; Atanasov 2005b, 275-281.

[78] Maréchal 2020, 140-174.

[79] Yegül 2014, 322; Maréchal 2020, 208.

[80] Maréchal 2020, 208.

[81] Yegül 1992, 319.

[82] Ibid., 324, n. 73

[83] Ibid., 314.

[84] Maréchal 2020, 209.

[85] Yegül 1992: 314; Марков 2017: 341, 343; Maréchal 2020, 208.

[86] Динчев 2011, 119-120; Kirova 2012, 233-234.

[87]For the purposes of this article, the building will be considered as a bath but without excluding the possibility of being part of a house.

[88] Чанева-Дечевска 1999, 248.

[89] Калчев 2002, 31.

[90] Тотев 1984, 169; Георгиев, Па. 1993, 41-75; Михалов 1993, 22-32; Милчев 1995, 52-53; Михайлов 1995, 47-48; Георгиев, Витлянов 2001, 12-14; Попконстантинов 2005, 24-32; Бояджиев 2008, 106-120.

[91] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 5-7.

[92] Милчев 1995, 52.

[93] Kullberg 2016, 145-159; Ivanov, A. – in print.

[94] Kullberg 2016, 157-158.

[95] Милчев 1995, 52.

[96] Чанева-Дечевска 1999, 200.

[97] Ibid., 226.

[98] Ibid., 240.

[99] Ibid., 300.

[100] Ibid., 302.

[101] Ibid., 290.

[102] Maréchal 2020, 209-222.

[103] Филов 1910, 217; Филов 1911, 283.

[104] Yegül 1992, 24-29; Yegül 2010, 40-45; Lucore 2016, 328-339; Maréchal 2020, 10-11.

[105] IGBulg III,1 1477 b; CLEThr 9; Sharankov 2016, 327, №1477 b. I would like to thank the Prof. Assistant  Dr. N. Sharankov for bringing to my attention the presence of this inscription.

[106] Tsontchev 1960, 119-124; SIBulg 216; Sharankov 2016, 322. I would like to thank Prof. Assistant  Dr. N. Sharankov for bringing to my attention the presence of this inscription.

[107] Dickey 2012, 129, 10u; Недељковић 2017, 560, 566. I would like to thank Prof. Assistant  Dr. N. Sharankov for bringing to my attention the presence of this inscription..

[108] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 1.

[109] Ibid., 19.

[110] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 1-2; Рашев 2008, 125-126.

[111] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 5-8.

[112] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 5; Бояджиев 2008, 102-106; Аладжов 2010, 120.

[113] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 5-7; Аладжов 2010, 131-132.

[114] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 6; Бояджиев 2008, 99-102.

[115] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 5-6.

[116] Ibid., 6.

[117] Ibid., 7.

[118] Ibid., 7.

[119] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 7-8; Бояджиев 2008, 298-309; Аладжов 2010, 127, 134; Атанасов 2012, 37-39; Атанасов, Михайлов 2014, 229; Atanasov 2015, 541-548, 563.

[120] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 8.

[121] Ibid., 10.

[122] Ibid., 15. The whole paragraph is completely different as a statement as if it was added by another person who checked and edited the sentences in the abstract of the thesis.

[123] Ibid., 16.

[124] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 16; Бояджиев 2008, 312-313.

[125] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 16.

[126] Ibid., 16-17.

[127] On different theories about the origin of early medieval monumental construction in Bulgaria (Аладжов 2010, 139-147).

[128] Ibid., 146-147, 160.

[129] Георгиев, Па. 1982, 18.

[130] There were at least four functioning baths in the 7th century – at Stara Zagora Mineral Baths, Acre, Mesambria and Sozopolis (see. In the main part of the article Chronology, № 3).

[131] Георгиев, П. 1982, 18-19.

[132] Ρεβυθιάδου, Ράπτης 2014, 13.

[133] Йосифова 1985, 149-156; Дерменджиев 2015, 218-223.

[134] Yegül 2010, 205, 215-217.

[135] Марков 2017, 345.

[136] Златев 1955, 63-74; Димитров и др. 1965, 144, 177-178; Миков 2012, 213-259; Найденова 2021, 1042-1047.

[137] There are at least two sites with mineral water/lodges, where there are preserved Mosques – Feshkia Bayna Bashi Mosque in Sofia and Stara Zagora mineral baths (Иширков 1912, 22-23; Димитрова 2017, 25, 32). Probably there was also an Aqua Calidae but it did not survive. The data for Stara Zagora mineral baths date from the middle of the 18th century, but it is possible that there, as elsewhere, people used to bathe without a functioning building. Where mineral water is available, the need for or lack of a building is only an indication but not necessarily a sign of non-use. A natural interruption in the use of such facilities may be due to an earthquake that has clogged the water catchment.

[138] Иширков 1912, 33-34, 71; Стоилова и др. 2014, 4-5.

[139] Yegül 2010, 226.

[140] Димитрова 2017, 43.

[141] Иширков 1912, 22-23; Стоилова и др. 2014, 97.

[142] Бояджиев 2006, 37-38; Динчев 2011, 113-115; Иванов, Ноева 2016, 548.

[143] Стоилова и др. 2014, 88.

[144] Динчев 2011, 115, 117; Ivanov, A., под печат.

[145] Иширков 1912, 20-21.

[146] Стоилова 2016 и др., 10.

[147] Димитрова 2017, 32.

[148] Ibid., 34.

[149] Ibid., 36-37.

[150] Щерева 2018, 117-125.



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This page is part of the project LABedia: Еncyclopedia of Late Antique Balkans, 4th-5th c.,
financed by the National Science Fund, contract КП-06-Н30/6, 13.12.2018