Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bulgaria's Treasure Hunters and the Lost Rome

Bulgarian scholars of archaeology consider Bulgaria to be the third richest country in Europe in terms of archaeological heritage after Italy and Greece. The Bulgarian archaeological richness is proven to span form the prehistory to the modern era, including Ancient Thrace, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome.

The major difference between Italy, for example, and Bulgaria, however, is that the former has preserved its Roman monuments for the world to marvel at, while the latter has allowed their destruction, which has resulted in the simultaneous wiping out of valuable pieces of the global cultural heritage and the loss of crucial sources of tourism revenue.

While Rome was sacked in 410 AD by the Visigoths, and in 455 AD by the vandals, many of the Roman sites in Bulgaria happened to be almost fully preserved till the end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century only to be ravaged by Bulgarian treasure hunters whose vandalism far outstrips that of the vandals 1 500 years ago.

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