Back to the history of the Roman Empire and The City of The Emperors



Hisarya is a town in southern Bulgaria with a thermal deposit of 22 springs, located in a small area, with different physicochemical characteristics and temperatures, with proven healing properties, used since ancient times. In a new era (1882), the beginning of organized balneotherapy in Bulgaria was laid here. The favorable climate and mineral waters have attracted people to these places since ancient times. Hisarya has a rich millennial history and cultural heritage, which is why it has been declared a national archaeological reserve. A prehistoric settlement existed here even before the V-IV centuries BC, and later a Thracian settlement.

After the conquest of the province of Thrace by the Romans in 46, a large Roman settlement arose around the mineral springs. In 293, Emperor Diocletian gave it the status of a city, and since then began its fortification with massive fortress walls and the implementation of new urban planning decisions.

In many places, the fortress wall reaches a height of up to 11 meters, and the southern fortress gate rises to 13 meters. The fortress was strengthened by 44 towers, and the ancient city was entered through four large gates.

There is an amphitheater, an arena, 10 early Christian basilicas from the 4th - 6th centuries, a royal residence, and one of the few preserved Roman baths on the Balkan Peninsula, where procedures and treatments with mineral water were carried out.

Southern Fortress Gate - "Camels"

The southern gate is of greatest architectural interest. It consists of a vaulted passage, which, however, is preceded on the outside by a larger arch supported by two massive pillars. The south gate is flanked by two rectangular towers. The broken brick arch preserved to this day on the ridge of the southern gate is actually part of a decorative brick vault, in the middle of which there was an embrasure for direct fire on the enemy. The gate was closed with a double door, blocked from the inside with a massive wooden beam. On both sides of the frontal arch, decorative niches were formed, in which statues of emperors or deities were placed.

Above the arch, the entire interior facade is decorated with a brick cornice, which served as a base for a triangular pediment. The original gate is 13 m high. It is known by the name "The Camels" because, at the beginning of the 20th century, the door was divided and resembled two camels standing against each other.

In this place, in 1882, the great Bulgarian poet Ivan Vazov wrote his famous poem "Dear Motherland, how beautiful you are!".

Hisarya Roman Amfiteater

The amphitheater was one of the most visited and favorite places for citizens during the Roman era. It was a building open on top and closed on all sides with seats arranged around an elliptical arena. The seats have been wooden and were installed on the slope above the arena. On the south side was the main entrance through which the participants in the fights entered. In a special vaulted niche in front of the entrance was placed the statue of the deity (probably Nemesis), patron of the games in the amphitheater.

On the north side, there were three entrances from which animals were let. On the two long sides of the ellipse were the rooms for the service staff. In the amphitheater of Diocletianopolis, various spectacular performances were held - fights with gladiators and animals.

After the adoption of Christianity as the official religion in 313, the amphitheater was transformed from a place for spectacles to a place for sports games.

The Roman baths in Hisarya

The Roman Baths are located in the Lily of the Valley Park. In some places, they have been preserved almost to the roof. They are one of the few famous thermal Roman baths in Europe. The entire complex covers a 3000 sq. m area. They were built in the second half of the 3rd century. The ancient Romans knew very well the healing properties of the mineral waters in the area. Hisarya has no less than 22 mineral spring waters. All of them are warm water springs. Depending on the spring, the temperatures range from 44-55˚C.

You can find public warm mineral water spouts where locals and visitors alike are lined up to enjoy the water and even take a bottle or two home with them. The chemical composition of water is known to have various positive health effects. Along with the mild climate with lots of sunny days, Hisarya has turned into one of the most well-known SPA & health resorts in Bulgaria and an obvious option for international medical tourism.

The mineral waters contain hydro-carbonate, sulfate, sodium, fluorine, silicon, radon, and hydro-sulfide. The waters are suitable for drinking, inhalation, and external therapeutic usage. They provide relief for many medical disorders such as urological problems, gastrointestinal diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, peripheral nervous system diseases, metabolic diseases, and gynecological disorders.

Additionally, many hotels in Hisarya offer SPA facilities such as saunas, steambaths, jacuzzis, indoor thermal pools, fitness rooms, and SPA treatments such as massage, hydrotherapy, kinesiotherapy, mineral water baths, mud applications etc.


  Free cancellation
  Reserve now & Pay later
  Pickup included
  Distance: approx. 165 km in one direction
  Trip duration: 6-8 hours


  Drinkable water
  Air-conditioned vehicle
  Fuel and parking fees


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