The haunted ground of Belintash
In Bulgaria, the cult site of the ancient Thracians
“The Thracians have a particular way of burying their well-to-do. They lay out the corpse for three days, and then, after much prior lamentation, they slaughter all kinds of sacrificial victims, and feast on them. They complete the funerary rites either by cremating the corpse or by burying it in the earth; and then, once they have piled up a tumulus, they stage a wide variety of athletic contests. The best prizes, entirely reasonably, go to those who engage in single combat. Such is the manner in which the Thracians bury their dead.”
– Herodotus, 5.8 (trans. by Tom Holland (not the Spider-Man actor)
The densely forested Rhodope mountain range stretches from Southern Bulgaria to Northern Greece. The forbidding region is associated with the myth of Orpheus, the legendary musician who embarked on an ill-fated quest to the underworld to rescue his deceased wife, Eurydice.
In antiquity, the region was also the homeland of the Thracians, a people who lived in Southeastern Europe, on the northern border of the Hellenic civilization and Achaemenid (Persian) empire.
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