- Posted on in Cultural -Region Rhodopes
Armira Villa, one of the most interesting monuments from the time of the Roman Empire, is located in Southern Bulgaria, 4 km southwest of Ivaylovgrad.
In 1964 while building a dam, developers accidentally stumbled upon traces of an ancient building. The archaeological excavations that followed revealed the remains of a suburban villa dated from the period when the Roman Empire reigned over what is now Bulgarian territory. It was named Armira Villa after the small tributary of the River Arda whose bank the villa was built on.
The villa was luxurious, with remarkable design, magnificent marble decorations and original floor mosaics. It is one of the oldest and most precisely dated Roman villa complexes studied so far in Bulgaria and also the most luxurious private palace from the Roman period discovered on the territory of modern-day Bulgaria. It was built in the second half of the 1st century AD by a renowned Thracian aristocrat as a centre of a large estate in the valley of Armira River. An impressive 3600 sq m two-storey building with a panoramic terrace and many different rooms and premises surrounding an outdoor pool from three sides used to stand in a beautiful garden suited for walks. The first floor alone had 22 rooms.
Gradually the villa grew too small for its owners and at the beginning of the 3rd century it was extended to the east by adding a spacious guest hall – triclinium and service premises. Part of the building had a hypocaust – a Roman heating system, traces of which can still be seen today.