most famous monument of the ancient Thracian culture in the region
is the sanctuary in the Mishkova niva territory.
The sanctuary Mishkova niva is part of a big complex located
around 3 – 3.5 km southwest from Malko Tarnovo, on the left shore
of the Deli river, in immediate proximity to the state border
of the Republic of Turkey. The complex consists of a fortress
on the mountain top called Golyamo Gradishte (Big Ruins), mines
at the foot of the mountain, a mound necropolis, a fortified suburban
villa from the Roman era, as well as the so-called Golyma Mogila
(Big Mound). The complex is known from the beginning of the 20th
century and was initially reported as an Apollo sanctuary due
to the inscriptions brought from the site to the city.
Golyamo Gradishte is the highest mountain top in Bulgarian Strandzha
– 710 meters above sea level. Its name comes from the fortress
on the top, which served as a shelter, observatory and protection
of the region until and after the Roman era. It was, however,
broken into by treasure-hunters during the last quarter of the
20th c. The wall of the fortress is built from crudity stones
of different sizes, very solidly, without any soldering. The thickness
of the wall is between 1.20 and 1.30 m. One can occasionally observe
parts of bricks and metallurgical slag. The space surrounded by
the fortress' wall has a diameter of around 100 m. One can discover
faint remains of chambers inside.
Around 30 m. southwest from the highest point of the top, there
are rocky incisions preserved in the living rock. The traces from
rocky incisions on the top are in the form of pits. They suggest
that during a very early period – probably the 2nd – beginning
of 1st mil. BC – there was an operating rock sanctuary. It probably
began functioning as a fortress in later areas. Survived for millennia,
the site has never been archaeologically researched.