It could be the world’s first observatory, its network of little pools acting as mirrors to the stars. It could be a calendar, a kind of Bulgarian Stonehenge. Or it might even be where soothsayers once predicted the future by watching the pattern of flames and the flow of wine down channels carved in the rock.
It might even have been where Alexander first heard the prophecy that he would, one day, conquer the world. It has a sphinx; compasses go haywire when laid on its granite rocks; and it is dangerous to be there in a thunderstorm. Sci-fi geeks claim its flat plateau of rocks was a landing strip for aliens. But no one really knows what Belintash – 4,000 years old and 4,000 feet up in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains – was actually for.
Not even such serious-minded archaeologists as Milen Kamarev have much of a clue. “We think it was a Thracian sanctuary to a goddess who was the forerunner of Dionysus,” he says. “It could be the rival oracle to Delphi, but we’re always changing our mind.”
Part of the reason for the uncertainty is that the Thracians – the Orientals of Europe – were a mysterious bunch. They had no alphabet, and they thought the after-life was more important than this one.
Category: History & Archeology
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