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Frontiers of the Roman Empire - The Danube Limes in Bulgaria

Date de soumission : 01/04/2016
Critères: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Bulgaria to UNESCO
État, province ou région :
Vidin, Montana, Vratsa, Pleven, Velika Tarnovo, Russe, Silistra
Ref.: 6126
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Les noms des biens figurent dans la langue dans laquelle les États parties les ont soumis.

Description

 

Cultural property name


Location
(village, city)

Municipality

Region


Coordinate

 

1

Vidin (Bononia) Roman town

Vidin

Vidin

Vidin

N43°59'34,765" E22°53'12,632"

2

Roman town Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria

Archar

Dirnovo

Vidin

N43°49'0,198" E22°54'9,395"

3

Ancient town and necropolis Aimus

Lom

Lom

Montana

N43°49'53,000" E23°14'16,000"

4

Roman fortress Cebrus/Kebros

Dolni Tsibar

Valchedrarn

Montana

N43°48'55,497" E23°30'59,187"

5

Roman fortress Regianum/Bigrane

Kozloduy

Kozloduy

Vratsa

N43.46'48,845" E23.44'54,808"

6

Ancient fortress Augustae

Harlets

Kozloduy

Vratsa

N43.43'57,829" E23°50'26,143"

7

Ancient fortress and prehistoric settlement

Oryahovo

Oryahovo

Vratsa

N43°43'49,296" E23°59'50,735"

8

Roman quarry for limestone

Dolni Vadin

Oryahovo

Vratsa

N43.41'6" E24°13'53"

9

Roma fortress Valeriana

Dolni Vadin

Oryahovo

Vratsa

N43.41'26,519" E24.16'23,076"

10

Roman town Palatiolum

Baykal

Dolna Mitropoliya

Pleven

N43°42'39,863" E24°25'53,297"

11

Roman town Colonia Ulpia Oescus

Gigen

Gulyantsi

Pleven

N43°42'38,731" E24°27'56,457"

 

12

Late Antiquity fortress Asamus

Cherkovitza

Nikopol

Pleven

N43.41'41,931" E24°51'4,968"

 

13

Roman town Dimum

Belene

Belene

Pleven

N43°39'8,467" E25°7'51,376"

 

14

Late antiquity fortress Quintodimum

Belene

Belene

Pleven

N43°38'27,77" E25.13'33,47"

 

15

Archaeological reserve "Ancient town Novae"

Svishtov

Svishtov

Veliko Tarnovo

N43°36'49,690" E25.23'38,236"

16

Ancient and medieval settlement latrus

Krivina

Tsenovo

Russe

N43.37'21,924" E25°34'43,281"

17

Late roman fort at the location Gredata

Batin

Borovo

Russe

N43.39'40,641" E25.38'25,908"

 

18

Late Antiquity and medieval fortress

Batin

Borovo

Russe

N43.40'6,531" E25.40'56,040"

 

19

Ancient fortress Trimammium

Mechka

Ivanovo

Russe

N43.42'47,000" E25°47'53,000"

20

Late Antiquity and medieval fortress Mediolana/ Pirgus

Pirgovo

Ivanovo

Russe

N43.44'57,906" E25.50'30,377"

21

Ancient fortress Sexaginta prista

Russe

Russe

Russe

N43.50'45,501" E25"56'40,549"

22

Ancient fortress Tegra/Tigra

Marten

Russe

Russe

N43°55'31,325" E26°4'35,795"

23

Ancient and medieval settlement Kynton

Nova Cherna

Tutrakan

Silistra

N44°0'20,641" E26°26'53,096"

 

24

Ancient fortress and settlement Transmarisca

Tutrakan

Tutrakan

Silistra

N44°2'57,018" E26°36'19,727"

25

Roman fortress Nigrinianis

Dolno Ryahovo

Glavinitsa

Silistra

N44°5'7,236" E26°47'40,566"

26

Ancient and medieval fortress Candidiana

Malak Preslavets

Glavinitsa

Silistra

N44°5'55,129" E26°49'44,668"

 

27

Ancient fortress Tegulicium

Vetren

Silistra

Silistra

N44°8'24,349" E2r2'0,576"

 

28

Ancient settlement Durostorum - Drastar

Silistra

Silistra

Silistra

N44°16,000" E27°15'3B,000"

29

Roman road section with pavement Dolni Vadin- Baykal, 7.1km lenght

Dolni Vadin - Baykal

Oryahovo – Dolna Mitropoliya

Vratza- Pleven

N43°41'19,50" E24°23'13,24

30

Roman road section with pavement Nikopol - Dargash, 3.6 km length

Nikopoi_Dragash

 

Nikopol

Pleven

N43.42'37,003" E24°55'20,309"

31

Roman road track without pavement Oescus - Utus, 16.96 km length

Gigen

Gulyantzi

Pleven

N43°40'6,299" E24"36'49,121"

32

Roman road track without pavement Somovit - Cherkovitza, 5.08 km length

Somovit-Cherkovitza

 

Gulyantzi - Nikopol

Pleven

N43°42'27,333" E24.48'22,168"

33

Roman road track without pavement Popina - Vetren, 5.09 km length

Popina - Vetren

Silistra

Silistra

N44"7'40,330" E26°59'29,B78"



West end at the Timok river mouth, Vidin region: 44°12'48.94"N, 22°40'12.71"E

East end at the city of Silistra, Silistra region: 44° 7'19.75"N, 27°16'39.04"E

The Roman Limes section in Bulgaria Limes is about 471 km long and runs along the river Danube from the castellum Dorticum, east of the mouth of the Timakos (Timacus f/) river (modern Timok River at the Serbian-Bulgarian border) through the regions of Vidin, Montana, Vratsa, Pleven, Velika Tarnovo, Russe, Silistra to Durostorum (present city of Silistra; at the Bulgarian-Romanian border). In a wider context this stretch of the frontier is part of the Danube Limes which starts close to the fort of Eining in Bavaria, where the Upper German Raetian Limes ends, and leads for more than 2800 kilometres all the way down to the Black Sea.

The province of Moesia was established, according to the latest researches, in AD 12, and the area subject of examination of this study was in its eastern part. In AD 86 it was divided into two new provinces - Moesia Inferior to the east, and Moesia Superior to the west. The Kiabros river (Cebrus) (modern Tsibritsa) marked its border. From the reign of Aurelian - Diocletian onwards this sector was used as water boundary of the province of Moesia Secunda (to the east) within the diocese of Thracia and of Dacia Ripensis (to the west) within the diocese of Dacia. The Utus river (modern Vit) was the borderline, separating not only two dioceses, but also two prefectures.

After the Dacian Wars of Emperor Trajan (AD 101-106) a new province called Dacia was established to the north of the Danube. In the beginning of the reign of Emperor Hadrian the newly conquered territory to the east of the Alutus river (modern Olt in Romania) was abandoned, and the eastern border of Dacia was set along the course of the Alutus. The stretch of the Danube bank downstream to the estuary of the Alutus river ceased to be imperial frontier for more than 150 years. After the evacuation of the province of Dacia in the reign of Emperor Aurelian (AD 271-275) the Danube marked again the north-eastern border of the Roman Empire. Already by the turn of the 3rd century a campaign of massive reconstruction of the Lower Danube limes was initiated by the central Roman administration, which was continued and systematically carried on by the following emperors all through the first three quarters of the 4th century. The fortifications were totally rebuilt according to a new pattern. Some of them were relocated to places offering better natural defence. Many new fortifications of different type and size appeared. The infrastructure of the Late Roman limes on the Lower Danube was badly damaged by the Gothic and Hunnic invasions in the last quarter of the 4th and the first half of the 5th century. All that prompted a vast new reconstruction, which was initiated by Emperor Anastasius in the late-5th century and was realized in several stages until the end of the rule of Emperor Justinian I. Minor repairs were carried on also in the last decades of the 6th century. In the reign of Emperor Heraclius the Roman Empire lost control over the Lower Danube provinces and the limes stopped functioning. 

On its abandonment quite some fortification elements were reused during the Middle Ages and survived well preserved into present days.

The Roman frontier system in Bulgaria consisted of a chain of fortifications along the south bank of the river Danube using the river as an additional obstacle and as a communication, supply and trade route. Along the course of the river line lay four legionary fortresses (RATIARIA, OESCUS, NOVAE, DUROSTORUM) and many forts and watch-towers, 46 of which have been precisely identified on the ground until present. The written sources give the names of still more fortified sites, which must have lain along the course of the Danube but are still not recognized.

The Limes road linked the individual military installations and other ancillary features. Quite often along a natural boundary, the Limes road runs well behind the course of the river, dictated by the terrain. Watch-towers and fortlets and sometimes also forts, are connected to the Limes road with smaller roads. The Limes road, which is often not so easy to be identified in woods, heavily agricultural or densely populated areas, is best preserved between the villages of Dolni Vadin and Baykal, to the east of the town of Nikopol and between the villages of Vardim and Krivina. It might well be recognized on satellite photoes in a few more places.

Besides the fortresses, forts and fortlets to the Roman frontier system may be referred some civil settlements, cemeteries and elements of the military infrastructure such as production installations (stone quarries) and roads .

The settings of the Roman frontier military installations have been influenced by the landscape on both sides of the Danube as a geographical feature as well as by the wish to control the main ancient trade routes and river fords. The landscape the Roman army had to face was dominated by the high and steep Danube bank in some sectors or vast flooded riverside plains in others, as well as the mouths of many rivers flowing into the Danube like Archar, Lorn, Tsibritsa, Ogosta, lskar, Vit, Osam, Yantra. Those geographical conditions determined the location of the frontier installations as well as the deployment of specific types of troops. The legionary fortresses and the bigger auxiliary forts were regularly spaced along the river bank, at a distance of 15-20 km from each other. They were generally situated by the mouths of the right Danubian tributaries, thus blocking the access of invaders into the province along the most convenient natural routes. The minor fortifications lay between the bigger ones, ensuring thorough control of the frontier line and visual communication between the components of the defence system.

The Bulgarian section of the Danube Limes would form an extension to the existing World Heritage property "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" (ref. no. 430ter), which at present consists of Hadrian's Wall, the Antonine Wall (UK) and the Upper German Raetian Limes (Germany).

The proposed Site would encompass the best known examples of the still existing and scheduled fortresses, forts and watch-towers between Dorlicum and Durostorum along the Danube mentioned and the additional features according to the Koblenz Declaration of the Bratislava Group including the civil towns and settlements, cemeteries adjacent to the military fortifications an elements of the military infrastructure. The river itself and the temporary fortifications will not be part of this World Heritage proposal. Over the last 2000 years the river bed changed in some places. Because of these changes and floods some sites on the lower grounds were partly or completely destroyed by the water. In the 20th century the river Danube underwent some regulatory measures, which did not help to preserve the monuments. But quite a lot of them were detected and investigated through those activities. All sites in question are protected by the regulations of the The Cultural Heritage Act of 2009).

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionelle

The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the transnational World Heritage property "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" with the inscription of the Upper German-Raetian Limes in 2005. Three sections of the property have already been inscribed: Hadrian' Wall (1987), the Upper German-Raetian Limes (2005) and the Antonine Wall (2008). "Frontiers of the Roman Empire - The Danube Limes in Bulgaria" is put forward as an extension of the World Heritage property "Frontiers of Roman Empires".

Criterion (ii): The property "Frontiers of the Roman Empire - The Danube Limes in Bulgaria" represents an excellent example for the influence of the Roman rule on the economic and social development of a large community and territory between the Balkan Mountain chain and the river Danube. Beside the already existing interchange in north-south direction along the ancient trade routes with the population and territories north of the river Danube, the Roman army established and supported an intense cultural exchange between the western and eastern parts of Europe by building of a secure corridor and an international transport route north of the Balkan Mountain chain with additional infrastructure to control this territory. Therefore the fortifications and the civil settlement structures that developed around the forts often represent a two-folded character combining characteristic elements from western and eastern Roman provinces. The linear defence system was created gradually, in several particular stages. Its establishing began in the first quarter of the 1st century AD from the west, and went on downstream the Danube through the 1st and the beginning of the 2nd century AD. In the Late Antiquity the Roman borderline of the provinces Moesia and Thracia in modern Bulgaria shared a similar military history with the neighbouring Danube Limes provinces to the West (in modern Serbia) and East (in modern Romania), with building of a much more elaborate defence system.

Criterion (iii): The Roman frontier line in modern Bulgaria is part of the whole imperial defence system along the river Danube. The most important characteristics of this section are the gradual expansion of the Roman rule downstream the Danube river and the specific organization of the territory along the border line throughout the time of Roman domination, with many drastic changes from administrative, economic and military point of view. The very appearance of the defence infrastructure along the Lower Danube Roman limes reveals many peculiarities compared to those along the Rhine end the upper and middle courses of the Danube. The Roman army and the fortification system of the Danube Limes in Bulgaria played a crucial role and experienced several major events which determined the policy and history of the whole Roman Empire, such as the Costoboci invasion in c. AD 170, the Gothic invasions in the mid-3rd century and in the last quarter of the 4th century, the Hunnic invasions in the first quarter of the 5th century, and the crucial wave of Avar-Siav invasions in the late-6th and early-7th century.

Criterion (iv): The establishment and the structure of the military installations of the Danube Limes in the sector that is modern Bulgaria clearly demonstrate the exceptional ability of the Roman army to adjust its demarcation/control/defence system to the individual geographical and demographical preconditions. This can be clearly demonstrated by the different system of frontier installations and the deployment of troops (cavalry, infantry and mixed units) all along the Bulgarian section of the Danube Limes. The still existing fortifications are among the best and highest preserved examples of late Roman military architecture throughout the Empire. The rest of towers, gates and ramparts represent outstanding examples of the technological development of the Roman military architecture and frontier defence.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité

The section of the Danube Limes that is in modern Bulgarian survives as a chain of fortified sites (fortresses, forts and fortlets, watch-towers; Limes road) and rest of Roman military infrastructure (roads, stone quarries) are organically linked with the landscape along the Danube. Especially the architectural monuments of the late Roman defence system are still a very visible testimony to the power and might of the Roman state and the extent of the Roman Empire. The main outline of the planning concept of Roman forts and military camps still survives in the street grid and the general plans of several modern towns and settlements places, such as Vidin, Lorn, Dolni Tsibar, Ostrov.

Many fortifications (approximately 50%) are partly or completely covered by medieval or modern settlements. Fieldworks, modern construction and other kinds of intervention have disturbed and/or transformed the Roman remains in nearly all of the proposed World Heritage sites. However, the preserved remains remain are a bright testimony to the overall border military protection Roman system known as the Roman Limes Many excavations have demonstrated that remains of the Limes monuments have survived remarkably well below ground even in settled or urban areas. There are still many invisible, undisturbed and uncovered elements of the property in nearly all the Limes sites. The visible parts of certain sites (in Vidin, Harlets, Gigen, Russe, Tutrakan, Silistra) are kept in good condition, cared for by the local or regional governments and are scheduled under the The Cultural Heritage Act.

The Limes road could be partly identified by aerial survey and archaeological investigations between the villages of Dolni Vadin and Baykal, to the east of the town of Nikopol, between the villages of Vardim and Krivina, in the vicinity of the villages of Pirgovo, Marten and Popina.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

The Roman Limes section in modern Bulgarian is part of the river frontier along the Danube which stretches from Bavaria to Romania and the Black Sea, protecting the Roman Empire from the tribes to the North. Eight modern countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, share this system. Although the proper Latin name of this type of frontier is "ripa", the better known and more often used word "limes" is used for the nomination of this section in Bulgaria.

Beside the Danube there are more river frontiers such as the river Rhine frontier in Western Europe and the Euphrates frontier in the Near East. There are main structural differences in river frontiers compared to land frontiers. Part of the very essence of a land frontier system is that an artificial barrier with its structural details (walls, palisades, rampart/ditches) forms a continuous line in the landscape and provides the necessary link between individual monuments (watch-towers, fortlets, forts). This can be demonstrated through and seen in the already existing parts of the World Heritage property: Hadrians Wall, the Antonine Wall and the Upper German Raetian Limes, where the relationship between the individual frontier elements is clearly visible.

All Roman river frontiers such as the Danube Limes lack these most obvious connecting element(s). Although the rivers form a linear obstacle, which connects the individual monuments, the frontier line and the linearity of the fortification system itself is less easy to define and to present. Forts along the Rhine and Danube river frontiers are between 10 to 30 km apart, and inter-visibility often does not exist. Over the last 2000 years the river beds changed in some areas. Because of these changes and floods many sites on the lower grounds were partly or completely destroyed by the water. This also affected some military sites on the Danube Limes in Bulgaria, such as Yasen, Dolni Vadin (Valeriana), Kozloduj (Zonus and Regianum), Selene (Dimum), Ryahovo (Appiaria). In the 20th century rivers underwent certain regulatory measures, which did not help to preserve the monuments situated close to the water line. But quite a lot of these archaeological sites were detected and investigated through those activities. Another threat is the water power stations with their dams and reservoirs. When power stations system Djerdap was built in Serbia and Romania during the 80-ies of the last century, a long stretch of the Roman frontier, e.g. forts, fortlets, watch-towers and the road through the Iron Gate were flooded and are not visible any longer.

A distinctive feature of the river Rhine and Danube frontiers are chains of watch-towers along one side of the river course and bridgehead fortifications on the other side. Watch-towers, the intermediate elements in the archaeological landscape, are not so easy to detect along river frontiers. Those of the earlier Roman Empire were mainly constructed of timber. No example of them is known in Bulgaria until present. But new research results on the Lower Rhine Limes in the Netherlands, where a longer section of the earliest frontier system around AD 20-40 was investigated during rescue excavations in the area around Woerden, clearly demonstrated that wooden watch-towers were a distinct element of the borderline. Late Roman watch-towers are easier to discern because of their massive stone and stone-brick construction. More than 200 watch-towers, mostly stone towers, are recorded along the Danube banks, the most of them in Hungary, which form a very tight defence system. It can be assumed that similar systems existed on the other Danube frontier sections too. Several examples of such late Roman watch-towers are situated in the area of Pokrayna, Oryahovo and Satin and are included in the actual nomination.

Although there are no clearly identified bridgehead fortifications in Bulgaria, there are such sites known for example in lza in Slovakia or the fort of Dierna in Serbia. Most of them were constructed when Roman politics caused advances of the army into Barbarian territory. In late Roman times more bridgeheads such as Contra Aquincum (Budapest) in Hungary were established to control, and more so to protect the crossing points and the traffic on the river itself. Such military installations were heavily fortified and several of them survived quite well on the left side of the Danube in Hungary, Serbia and Romania.

The Bulgarian section of the Danube Limes is unique in Europe for its extremely well preserved, high standing monuments of late Roman frontier architecture. These remains, towers and gates, are unparalleled to any other frontier section of the Danube Limes, as well as the Rhine frontier. The preserved monuments enable us to understand details of construction as well as the redesign of the fortifications during the late Roman times.