Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis Inauguration Will Be Held on April 18

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The majestic peacock at the Basilica entrance. Photo by Anthony Georgieff

The Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis will be inaugurated in a virtual ceremony on April 18, 2021, UNESCO World Heritage Day.

The ceremony will be broadcast online due to the complex pandemic situation in the country. Watch the livestream on the website of Plovdiv Municipality or the Facebook pages of the Municipality (https://www.facebook.com/PlovdivMunicipality), Ancient Plovdiv Institute (https://www.facebook.com/AncientPlovdiv), the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis (https://www.facebook.com/bishopsbasilica), and the America for Bulgaria Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/us4bg).

The event will be streamed live here: https://www.facebook.com/events/283128906584188/

Plovdiv’s newest cultural center will open its doors to visitors as soon as the pandemic measures are eased.

The building is remarkable in its scale, architectural characteristics, and decorations, and ranks among the most representative early-Christian sites. It was included in the Tentative List of significant cultural and natural heritage sites of UNESCO in January 2018.

The restoration and exhibition of the mosaics was carried out in 2015–2020 with the financial support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, within the framework of a public-private partnership with the Municipality of Plovdiv for the restoration, exhibition, and construction of a visitor center of the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis.

The Basilica site was discovered during rescue archaeological excavations in 1982–1986. By 2002, almost half of the building had been studied, and in 2016–2017 was fully uncovered and excavated. The total length of the Basilica is 82.80 m and its width is 36 m, which makes it the largest basilica dating from the IV–VI century in Bulgaria and one of the largest in the Balkans. The Basilica welcomed worshipers from the middle of the 4th century until the end of the 6th century, and in the Middle Ages, a Christian necropolis appeared in its ruins.

The floors of the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis are covered with two layers of multicolored mosaics, with an area exceeding two thousand square meters. The mosaic floors have their own specific appearance, combining different influences from local culture, traditions, and resources, enriching our knowledge of mosaic art in late Antiquity.

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