The Gate of Trajan
Georgi Yordanov

The Gate of Trajan


The historic mountain pass The Gate of Trayan or Trajan’s Gate is located in Sredna gora Mountain, not far from the town of Kostenets. It was named so after Roman Emperor Trajan, on whose order a fortress was built here in the 2nd century A.D. However, the pass is primarily known for the medieval battle of August 17, 986 and the historical victory of King Samuel of Bulgaria (i.e. Tsar Samuil, a general under Roman I of Bulgaria at that time) over the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, which halted a campaign in the country and eventually preserved Bulgaria’s independence from the Byzantine Empire for another 22 years.


The fortress,  built over a former Thracian settlement, was 24 paces high and 15 paces wide (a pace is an obsolete Roman unit of length approximately equal to the distance of a full stride) and had substantial stone walls. The immense fortress included a military post with internal bailey, an outdoor subterranean floor, six gates, three internal towers, a unique water supply system and an underground passage. The western fortress wall was reinforced with two pointed pentangular defensive towers. The preserved finds from the fortress include Late Antique pottery, bronze coins from the 6th and 7thcentury A.D., several millstones and dolia (dolium: a large earthenware container) for wheat storage.


The Gate of Trajan fortress underwent preservation and restoration works and is now open to visitors and tourists/ There's a visitor information center and a panoramic site. The two easy hiking trails nearby would perfectly complement the sightseeing tour with a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.


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