The Bishop`s Basilica of Philippopolis was discovered during rescue archaeological excavations, carried out from 1982 to 1986. Until 2002 about half of the building was investigated and in 2016-2017 it was fully unearthed. The basilica was built over former monumental buildings and some of their structures have been archaeologically investigated. It functioned from the middle ot the 4th century until the end of the 6th century and during the Middle Ages a Christian necropolis was built over its ruins.
It is a three-nave basilica, with an apse to the east and a peculiarly shaped narthex and atrium to the west. Outstandingly large, it has lavish architectural interior and mosaic floors. It is about 83 m long and 36 m wide, which makes it the largest 4th-6th century basilica in Bulgaria and one of the largest on the Balkans. The floors of the basilica are covered with two layers of mosaics with a total area of over 2000 sq.m.
The mosaic floors from the Bishops Basilica have a peculiar aspect of their own, a combination of different influences and local culture, traditions and resources, and enrich our knowledge of the development and spread of mosaic art in Late Antiquity.
The Bishop`s Basilica of Philippopolis is unique in scale, architectural design and decoration and is one of the most representative early-Christian sites. It provides priceless information about the history of early Christianity and the formation and development of Christian art on the Balkans and in Europe.
Since January 20, 2018, the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis has been included in the UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage Tentative list for the Republic of Bulgaria as part of the Serial property `The Bishop`s Basilica and Late-Antique Mosaics of Philippopolis, Roman Province of Thrace`.
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