From the sanctuaries documented so far in the Rhodopi mountains
Harman Kaya is the most impressive one. It is located in the region
of village Dolna Chobanka, Momchilgrad County. The site has been
registered more than 60 years ago (Mikov 1941). The sanctuary developed
on a not-very-high plateau around a 7-meter long, small natural
cave. In front of the cave on the surface of the terrain is located
the largest heaping of ceramic fragments. The earliest ceramic fragments
date from the late Chalcolithic epoch, and the latest - from the
1st-2nd c. AD. Trapezoid niches are hewn in the vertical rock located
next to the cave's entrance. There is another karst cave located
at the foot of the plateau. It is 20 meters long with traces of
The plateau where the cave is located is crowned with rocks. It
dominates over the environment and is naturally fortified. The inner
sacred space includes the rocky top with the cave. One entered the
sacred space through a cleft between the rocks which was secondarily
designed as an entrance. The entrance was closed with a door the
threshold and grooves of which are still recognizable in the rocks.
The terraces cut in the rocks and defined also for sun observation
usage, the foundations of chambers, stairs, sacrificial pits, altars,
basins (probably including purificational ones) are located in the
outer sacred space. The rain water was directed outside the chambers
via outfalls cut in the horizontal rocks. Rocks with hewn in trapezoid
niches and sacrificial altars rise in this outer sacred space.
Two grounds, evened out, with diameters respectively 10 and 15 meters,
are located in this space (Fol, V. 2000; 2003). The first one, marked
as northeastern, has an oval shape tilted slightly to the North.
6 concentrated semicircles separated by 0.3-1.4 meters are formed
through hollowing the rock. Their diameter, of course, constantly
increases. A throne, turned east-northeast is hewn in the rock in
the western end of the ground. The second ground has an almost circular
shape. It is marked as southwestern, and has 11 concentric semicircles.
The ground itself is slightly inclined south. A throne is hewn in
the northern side of this ground and is turned northeast.
According to the sanctuary's discoverer, Prof. V. Mikov, the remains
of "the biggest Thracian city" are apparent at Harman
Kaya's foot. Not only the outlines of the chambers are obvious,
but also the streets and the squares. The masonry, according to
the author, has no mortar, and the ceramics which he discovered
at the terrain, dates between the 6th and the 1st c. BC.
A tomb is hewn in the rocky slope above the river, next to the cult
place. For now there are no data the cult complex Harman Kaya functioned
in the Middle ages, thus diferring from other rock-cut cult locations.
The archaeo-astronomical research of the two terraces hewn in the
rocks (one of them being circular), shows that they likely served
for measuring the yearly cycle and for establishing of the summer
and winter solstices. Research proves that the rock mega-complex
intended for such solar observations was created around 2000 BC.
(Stoev, A. and others 2003)