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Mishkova niva

The 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.