Location: Madzharovo, reached by yellow markings in 3 hours from the city center
About: Thracian and medieval fortress Okopa is located 2.82 km west in a straight line from the center of Madjarovo. It is built on a rocky peak dominating all other peaks and terrain in the area. Most of the slopes at the top are surrounded by vertical rock groups, and on those sides where there are no rock crowns, the slopes are very steep and sweat inaccessible. The natural approach to the top is from the northwest on the ridge of the ridge, from which it is separated by a steep saddle. The fortress covers the entire peak and is skillfully inscribed between the vertical rock crowns. It has an irregular shape dictated by the terrain with maximum dimensions of 213x130 m and a total area of ​​14 decares. Despite the impressive size and area, the actual living space is not more than 3-4 decares. This is due to the fact that much of the fortified space is occupied by large rock groups. The fortress walls are of different thickness depending on the accessibility of the terrain in front of them. There are two types of buildings, Thracian and medieval. The Thracian walls are built of quarry stones without solder and represent most of the fortifications. The medieval walls were built of white mortar and were erected mainly on the more accessible sections, which needed reinforcement. The entrance to the fortification was from the northwest, and the approach to it is along the ridge. The entrance is protected from the southwest by a small fort well formed between the rocks with maximum dimensions of 26x7 m and an area of ​​0.144 decares. The fort has its own entrance located southeast of the interior of the fortress. This entrance is defended by a semicircular tower, which rises above the vertical southwestern rocks. The interior of the fortress is densely built up. It distinguishes the foundations of many buildings, including the remains of a large church built on the highest point of the fortress. In the southern part of the fortification in the rocky terrain is cut a large well with a rectangular cross section, which is still filled with water. South of the cliff, right on the edge of the rocks, you can see many carvings, sharapani, gutters and other traces of Thracian cult activity. The terrain of the fortification is strewn with fragments of Thracian and medieval pottery. Northwest of the fortress are the remains of two Thracian masonry tombs. One was completely destroyed by the treasure hunters. The second is still relatively well preserved, but is left to the whims of the weather and unscrupulous tourists. Judging by the large amount of pottery and the two masonry tombs in front of the fortress, it can be said that the fortress was inhabited for a long time by the Thracians, and played an important role in the social and cultural activities of the region. The presence of rich tombs and cult carvings shows that the fortification had not only a military function and was inhabited by aristocrats and high clergy. The fortress was probably abandoned in the 1st or 2nd century after the permanent transfer of these lands to the Roman Empire. At that time, the population descended from hard-to-reach rocky fortresses and settled in the fertile plains, taking advantage of the so-called "Roman Peace" (a period of nearly 200 years of life without any serious military conflict in this inland province). The medieval fortress probably originated after the X-XII centuries. At that time the separatism of the small feudal lords began its development, and its apogee will occur in the XIII-XIV centuries. to break up into many small possessions, which are only formally part of a country. By themselves, these boyars and voivodes did not have the financial resources to support large armies and therefore surrounded themselves with small professional detachments numbering no more than 500-800 warriors. Such a force could not hold a fortress in the plain, which needed at least 20 times as large an army to repel an enemy attack with wall-breaking machines. It is for this reason that these feudal lords are looking for hard-to-reach and naturally fortified places, inaccessible to siege equipment, which can be effectively defended by the small armies at their disposal. It is for this reason that in the Middle Ages the old Thracian fortress Okopa was repopulated and used for defense.

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