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Amphitheatre of Serdica

ul.Budapeshta 2 | Arena di Serdica Residence Hotel, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
+359 2 810 7901
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Review Highlights
The Roman Past

Where ever the Romans ruled , they had left their imprints in the form of great structures. The... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
njan45
,
Muscat, Oman
A bit of a disappointment

Not sure what I expected to see, but somehow this place was a disappointment. I had the sense that... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
starlightShanghai
,
Victoria, Canada
Read all 343 reviews
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In the past Serdica was the capital of the eastern province of Dacia Mediterranea - part of the Great Roman Empire. It was an important commercial and political centre, large and well developed city, built in a Roman style with large stone streets, a forum, beautiful temples and impressive buildings with magnificent decorations.In 2004 during the construction works in the city center of Sofia unexpectedly came across a part of a Roman wall. Archaeological excavations immediately started – thus the Amphitheatre of Serdica (Amphiteatrum Serdicense) was discovered! This is a monumental public building with an elliptical layout and an arena in the middle, elliptically surrounded by the tiered seats for the spectators. The great number of coins and pottery discovered enabled the researchers to identify two periods in III-IV century. During the research on the site it became evident that about 5 meters under the amphitheatre there is a theatre, built in II-III century, i.e. 100 years earlier. A unique complex combining ancient amphitheatre and theatre was discovered. These are the largest buildings from the age of ancient Serdica, evidencing its heyday during the centuries. The finding was declared unique and the discovery - unmatched in the world!The Arena of Serdica is 60.5 m long and 43 m wide. However, the Amphitheatre of Serdica is the only one in the world, combining a Roman theatre and a late antique amphitheatre in one place and the only such public building in the Balkans. This makes the site truly unique and the discovery - sensational. It is a fact that no other capital or even city in the world can boast a theatre and amphitheatre together and located in its very centre. Its construction began during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian and was completed by the Emperor Constantine the Great.Interesting Facts:- The first evidence for the existence of an amphitheatre with arena for fights is a stone plate found in 1919 near the present-day building of the Council of Ministers. It is assumed that it served as an “advertising banner” at the entrance of the ancient Serdica. Nowadays it is preserved and is on display in the Archaeological Museum in Sofia.- The plate reveals images of lions, tigers, bulls, crocodiles, which took part in combat with Gladiators. The Christians persecuted at this time were thrown to the wild beasts for the amusement of the spectators. The excavations revealed teeth of bear.- The amphitheatre was located outside the fortress walls of the ancient town and now it is located in the centre of Sofia.- Its walls have been preserved in their actual form and the combat arena is covered with sand as it was in the past. The origin of the word “arena” is from the Latin word for sand “harena”. The sand was selected as the most suitable material to absorb the blood of the victims.- When standing in the ruins of the amphitheatre and looking up at the street level, it becomes evident how ages and nature have deposited a new layer of about 12 m between the town of Serdika from III century and the modern city.- The walls of the amphitheatre and the sectors with seats were about 5 floors high and correspond to the level of the nowadays Moskovska Street. About 25,000 spectators gathered on the site. Its opposite end is found to be near the Youth Theatre on Dondukov Blvd.- 7 stone seats for spectators are preserved and placed in their original locations.- Here the dressing rooms of the actors involved in theatrical performances can be seen, as well as the entrance of the east gate, where the chariots passed during the gladiatorial combat.- Clad in metal and leather, people from all over the empire used to die or gain their freedom on the arena.Besides the metallic clink of weapons, the ruins remembered recitations of poets and orators, virtuoso performances of musicians and actors, exalted cheers of spectators.- Clay tiles still bear the footprints of animals - goats, dogs, cats, immortalized their traces in the uncured slabs of the ancient builders.A dwelling and a furnace dated V-VI century and a well dated IV-V century were also discovered.Superstructures built during the age of the Ottoman Empire were found, as well as coins and pottery from this period. Legends about the Emperor Diocletian – the creator of the Amphitheatre of Serdica - Diocletian was characterized with his lust for power, serious and pensive look, as if contemplating great deals. It had been predicted that he would reach the supreme power after killing a boar, so he repeatedly went hunting. - When seized power, Diocletian reserved for himself the eastern empire and the position of senior co-emperor. He took the name Jovius – from the name of god Jove, Jupiter. - Diocletian first introduced as mandatory the complex royal ceremonies followed by almost all the emperors after him, aimed at enhancing the power and limiting the access to the autocrats deified while still alive. - After the solemn abdication of Diocletian - the only emperor who retired voluntarily - it turns out that it was only his authority that protected the Tetrarchy from collapsing. - Diocletian spent the last years of his life in his huge palace, which was built near his hometown of Aspalatos (today's city of Split) in Dalmatia. According to legend, when some messengers came to him with a request to return to power again, he replied to them that “if they knew what vegetables he himself grew in his garden, they would never ask him to become the Emperor again”.
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Travellers talk about
“roman ruins” (14 reviews)
“metro station” (11 reviews)
LOCATION
ul.Budapeshta 2 | Arena di Serdica Residence Hotel, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
CONTACT
Website
+359 2 810 7901
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"roman ruins"
in 14 reviews
"metro station"
in 11 reviews
"piece of history"
in 6 reviews
"residence hotel"
in 2 reviews
"open air museum"
in 2 reviews
"below ground"
in 2 reviews
"cool attraction"
in 2 reviews
"roman times"
in 5 reviews
"place offers"
in 2 reviews
"walk around"
in 4 reviews
"rainy day"
in 3 reviews
"historical place"
in 2 reviews
"downtown sofia"
in 2 reviews
"amphitheater"
in 24 reviews
"excavations"
in 7 reviews
"basements"
in 2 reviews
"buff"
in 2 reviews
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1 - 10 of 137 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

Where ever the Romans ruled , they had left their imprints in the form of great structures. The remnants of a Roman Amphitheatre was found in Serdika While digging for the construction of a big hotel. Most of the items found here are displayed in...More

Thank njan45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

Not sure what I expected to see, but somehow this place was a disappointment. I had the sense that the 'ruins' were actually part of a hotel renovation 'gimmick' and added to the hotel only as afterthought. I KNOW this isn't the case, but the...More

Thank starlightShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

directly under and across serdika metro is the imperssive remains of sofia past.... free entry, no admission....

Thank jardden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

In the basement of a hotel part of the second largest amphitheatre ever known. As an historical building to see it’s worth it, but there’s not a lot to see.

Thank BT3rd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We visited on a Sunday afternoon end of may in lovely sunshine and it was quite quiet. It was free and worth a look around.

Thank Sally T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The dug up area in the city, which reveals the civilization in the ancient Serdica was very historical and interesting. It is part of the free local tour and very enjoyable.

Thank Ebonnie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I loved seeing these Roman ruins incorporated into the subway system. Although the ruins may be a little unpreserved, it is a great way for the people of the area to appreciate their heritage. I always apappreciate seeing Roman ruins.

Thank Ramadama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2018

Never went down to the Aamphitheatre as i was always to busy or tired.I did see it from the reception area above and it looked quite impressive. This was on a daily baseis 8 days overall.

Thank Z2698XUjohnp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2018

fascinating to see and read about these ruins under the large communist style buildings and surrounding shops. Nice trip but a lot of repairs have been carried out so hard to tell how much is authentic.

Thank Joseph C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2018

right in the CBD, go down a level and back in Roman times. Amazing feat and grandeur to give you an idea of the settlement there centuries ago

Thank pmc1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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