Proto-Bulgarians

PLISKA - THE CAPITAL OF DANUBIAN BULGARIA

Among them a particularly important place is occupied by Pliska - the capital of Danubian Bulgaria.

The ancient Bulgarians are known not only for their exceptional military skills, but also for their ability to build strong and heavily defensive fortifications. They later grew into strong fortress-cities.

After crossing the Danube and establishing diplomatic relations with the tribes inhabiting these lands, Khan Asparukh set out to lay the foundations of the future state. With a relatively large part of his army, the ruler occupied the most vulnerable place in the new state - the gorge between the Shumen heights and the Kaspichan plateau (known as the field of Pliska). All the marching invaders from the north, from the rich Thracian plain to the heart of the Eastern Roman Empire which was Constantinople, had to cross this region.

The position was highly strategic, both for campaigns to Byzantium and allowing, if necessary, the Bulgarian cavalry to move quickly to Ongal and the lands beyond the Danube. The area chosen in the field of Pliska did not accidentally appear initially as a fortified battle camp, as a large part of the Bulgarian armed forces was concentrated in it.

The Bulgarian military camp in Pliska has the shape of an irregular quadrilateral, and is protected on all sides by deep trenches and high embankments. The ruler's aul stood inside it. It was initially made of wood, as archeological excavations show. Remains of many rectangular and yurt-shaped (round) buildings were also found. Subsequently, with the permanent settlement of the Bulgarians, a stone citadel and stone buildings were erected there.

The ground fortification of Pliska is combined with stone. But in addition to protection, the walls also serve as a symbol of power, which separates the ruler and the boyars from the rest of the population.

The settlements of the population were adjacent to the fortified camp. There probably lived mainly proto-Bulgarians of one clan, or clans close to Asparukh. Their homes were also surrounded by earthen and wooden fortifications. The defenses included complex fortifications and deep trenches, and are typical of the ancient Bulgarians. Over the years, the military camp and the surrounding villages merged into one. The inner and outer city appeared, where spiritual centres, administrative buildings made of stone, marketplaces, separate artisan streets and neighborhoods were built. The Pliska military camp became a real city and capital, the center of power and military capability of the First Bulgarian State.

To this day, the excavations and remains of the monumental walls of Pliska are impressive. The first capital of the Danubian Bulgaria reminds us that the Bulgarian people have always been great and have never been afraid to fight for their land and name.

6/9/2020