Bulgaria’s golden archaeological hopes

BBC item today

Bulgaria’s ancient Thracian heritage has been thrust into the spotlight this year with a number of key archaeological discoveries in the so-called “Valley of the Thracian Kings”.

The golden treasures are attracting international attention and there is a push to make the Thracian heritage Bulgaria’s trademark abroad in a bid to boost tourism in one of the poorer East European countries.

Even the local people cannot believe that Bulgaria, with an income per capita reaching less than a third of the EU average, has managed to unearth kilos of pure gold worth millions of dollars.

But, for many, there is more interest in a tapping a richer vein as property sales to foreign buyers are going through the roof.


The aritcle pressing all the popular archaeological buttons. Golden treasures of a lost past, comparisons with Schliemann’s discovery of heroic prehistory and Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.

Thracian gold – a people described by Herodotus as “savage, bloodthirsty warriors”

Many British and German buyers are being drawn to Bulgaria, attracted by lower property prices, a longer summer, beautiful countryside, cheap natural food and a generally easier living for people with Western pensions in a country with a much lower cost of living.

The trend is welcomed by local people who can otherwise barely subsist on their own modest pensions.

Gossip between neighbours over the fence as to who sold what for how much to a foreigner has become a common subject for conversation – an interest the Thracian gold is yet to arise even in the hearts of Bulgarians themselves.

It reminds me of the lovely movie Local Hero (Bill Forsyth 1983) [Link to IMDb]

Whisky, a fairisle pullover and the local pub – matters of cultural value in “Local Hero”

An oil company executive arrives in the Scottish Highlands to begin buying up land for a vast oil refinery that will devastate the landscape. Far from mounting any opposition, the locals immediately begin scheming to get as much as they can out of the deal. While they seem ready to sell their souls as well as any property they own, the Americans are seduced by the local life and cancel their plans, as the CEO (Burt Lancaster) flies in to watch the aurora borealis.

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