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Nikopolis ad Istrum

Nikopolis ad Istrum by dibach
The first time I visited Nikopolis, a friend and I struggled to climb over the tall, locked gates that protected the ancient ruins on the other side. When I landed, awkwardly on my ankle, a narrow, straight road made of huge slabs of stone with tufts of grass poking from them lay before me and I duly followed it, dodging the large gaps between them. The land opened onto leaning columns of various sizes, decaying slowly but still managing to loom over neglected relics and big boulders, some ornate, some not and others with inscriptions. Although these Roman ruins lay there abandoned alongside overgrown grass, they still managed to ooze the air of their previous majestic lives of grandeur.
Nikopolis ad Istrum by dibach
These days you’ll find a well preserved car park and new protection walls along with a better organised tourist centre: the price to pay for tourist restoration. On the plus side, however, it has progressed enormously in the last eight years and a joint venture between Bulgarian and British archaeology students has unearthed a vast amount of Roman artefacts and architectural design from the complex, Roman city that is Nikopolis as Istrum.
Nikopolis ad Istrum by dibach       Nikopolis ad Istrum by dibach

Founded in 101-106 AD by the Roman emperor, Trajan who had it built to celebrate his victory against the Dacians, wasn’t re-discovered until the 1900s. It’s design was based on a network of streets based on the orthogonal system whereby roads run from north to south, east to west and cross each other in a straight line.

Nikopolis ad Istrum by dibach
There are the remnants a highly structured water system of canals and piping network supporting not just the shops, theatre, offices, but also help to generate water into the village of Nikyup.
Nikopolis ad Istrum by dibach
                                          You can find the Roman ruins 20km north of Veliko Tarnovo on the Ruse road and your car will be happy to drive down the newly-filled potholed road, unlike the first time we went!
Open: from April to October (although you can visit at other times prior to arrangement); 9 am – 5 pm
Admission: Adults 6lv; students 2lv: kids under 7 are free
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