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Address: ul.Budapeshta 2 | at the Arena di Serdica Residence Hotel, Sofia 1000, Bulgaria
Description:

In the past Serdica was the capital of the eastern province of Dacia...

In the past Serdica was the capital of the eastern province of Dacia Mediterranea - part of the Great Roman Empire. It was an important commercial and political centre, large and well developed city, built in a Roman style with large stone streets, a forum, beautiful temples and impressive buildings with magnificent decorations.In 2004 during the construction works in the city center of Sofia unexpectedly came across a part of a Roman wall. Archaeological excavations immediately started – thus the Amphitheatre of Serdica (Amphiteatrum Serdicense) was discovered! This is a monumental public building with an elliptical layout and an arena in the middle, elliptically surrounded by the tiered seats for the spectators. The great number of coins and pottery discovered enabled the researchers to identify two periods in III-IV century. During the research on the site it became evident that about 5 meters under the amphitheatre there is a theatre, built in II-III century, i.e. 100 years earlier. A unique complex combining ancient amphitheatre and theatre was discovered. These are the largest buildings from the age of ancient Serdica, evidencing its heyday during the centuries. The finding was declared unique and the discovery - unmatched in the world!The Arena of Serdica is 60.5 m long and 43 m wide. However, the Amphitheatre of Serdica is the only one in the world, combining a Roman theatre and a late antique amphitheatre in one place and the only such public building in the Balkans. This makes the site truly unique and the discovery - sensational. It is a fact that no other capital or even city in the world can boast a theatre and amphitheatre together and located in its very centre. Its construction began during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian and was completed by the Emperor Constantine the Great.Interesting Facts:- The first evidence for the existence of an amphitheatre with arena for fights is a stone plate found in 1919 near the present-day building of the Council of Ministers. It is assumed that it served as an “advertising banner” at the entrance of the ancient Serdica. Nowadays it is preserved and is on display in the Archaeological Museum in Sofia.- The plate reveals images of lions, tigers, bulls, crocodiles, which took part in combat with Gladiators. The Christians persecuted at this time were thrown to the wild beasts for the amusement of the spectators. The excavations revealed teeth of bear.- The amphitheatre was located outside the fortress walls of the ancient town and now it is located in the centre of Sofia.- Its walls have been preserved in their actual form and the combat arena is covered with sand as it was in the past. The origin of the word “arena” is from the Latin word for sand “harena”. The sand was selected as the most suitable material to absorb the blood of the victims.- When standing in the ruins of the amphitheatre and looking up at the street level, it becomes evident how ages and nature have deposited a new layer of about 12 m between the town of Serdika from III century and the modern city.- The walls of the amphitheatre and the sectors with seats were about 5 floors high and correspond to the level of the nowadays Moskovska Street. About 25,000 spectators gathered on the site. Its opposite end is found to be near the Youth Theatre on Dondukov Blvd.- 7 stone seats for spectators are preserved and placed in their original locations.- Here the dressing rooms of the actors involved in theatrical performances can be seen, as well as the entrance of the east gate, where the chariots passed during the gladiatorial combat.- Clad in metal and leather, people from all over the empire used to die or gain their freedom on the arena.Besides the metallic clink of weapons, the ruins remembered recitations of poets and orators, virtuoso performances of musicians and actors, exalted cheers of spectators.- Clay tiles still bear the footprints of animals - goats, dogs, cats, immortalized their traces in the uncured slabs of the ancient builders.A dwelling and a furnace dated V-VI century and a well dated IV-V century were also discovered.Superstructures built during the age of the Ottoman Empire were found, as well as coins and pottery from this period. Legends about the Emperor Diocletian – the creator of the Amphitheatre of Serdica - Diocletian was characterized with his lust for power, serious and pensive look, as if contemplating great deals. It had been predicted that he would reach the supreme power after killing a boar, so he repeatedly went hunting. - When seized power, Diocletian reserved for himself the eastern empire and the position of senior co-emperor. He took the name Jovius – from the name of god Jove, Jupiter. - Diocletian first introduced as mandatory the complex royal ceremonies followed by almost all the emperors after him, aimed at enhancing the power and limiting the access to the autocrats deified while still alive. - After the solemn abdication of Diocletian - the only emperor who retired voluntarily - it turns out that it was only his authority that protected the Tetrarchy from collapsing. - Diocletian spent the last years of his life in his huge palace, which was built near his hometown of Aspalatos (today's city of Split) in Dalmatia. According to legend, when some messengers came to him with a request to return to power again, he replied to them that “if they knew what vegetables he himself grew in his garden, they would never ask him to become the Emperor again”.

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Roman remains

It's surprising how many cities when undertaking new construction uncover roman remains. It's great to see Sonia trying to protect and preserve the remains, they look great, some... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 6 days ago
TheCount69
,
Rochdale, Lancs, UK
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122 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 52: English reviews
Rochdale, Lancs, UK
Level Contributor
225 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

It's surprising how many cities when undertaking new construction uncover roman remains. It's great to see Sonia trying to protect and preserve the remains, they look great, some outside serdica metro and some more a short stroll away well lit up and underground. You can also see examples in serdica metro station on the platforms of items they have uncovered

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Thank TheCount69
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Great place for organizing events. I was there on Days of Japanese culture in October. Very spacious, and you can hide from a heavy rain there, and just listen to its music! :)

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Thank Venelina P
Athens, Greece
Level Contributor
59 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

It is near the metro station serdica. You can walk through the amphitheatre and enjoy the topical coulture.

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Thank Eirini_avr
Blackburn, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Fascinating to see how ancient Roman remains have relatively recently been found and displayed in the heart of the modern city. A strange sight.

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Thank Stuart S
Andover, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Excellent insight into Roman remains and how they have been uncovered and restored -some remain under buildings, roads.

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Thank SHARONANDJEZ
Carlow
Level Contributor
82 reviews
70 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Very well preserved historical site of the ancient city of Serdica. A complex of roads and buildings.

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Thank MaryMcI
Level Contributor
77 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

This ancient Roman ampitheater was accudentally discovered when a hotel was being built. Carefully constructed, the foundations of the hotel were placed avoiding the ruins. While the hotel is quirky with its underground brimming with history, lòoking down from the hotel lobby, the ruins down below is a reminder of the very rich cultural history of Bulgaria.

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Thank Daniel A
Cologne, Germany
Level Contributor
204 reviews
156 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

It is impressive to visit it, the ruins are big, one part is located just outside the metro station Serdica in open air and then there is another part which is underground. And when you think about it and according to what I have heard, there is even more, much more, which hasn't been excavated. Apparently, Bulgaria is the third... More 

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Thank Beatriz M
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
84 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Very interesting, the ruins are well preserved. But what was most interesting was that they are in a hotel, and have been integrated into the hotel space. The hotel is also nice.

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Thank Pinecone-sw
Porto, Portugal
Level Contributor
32 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2016

There are some very well preserved ruins, perfectly integrated in the landscape so people can see them even when they just pass by the metro station near them. It is actually unusual to see roman ruins in Sofia so these were a nice surprise.

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Thank Simona R

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