Most people are unaware that Bulgaria has a large number of prehistoric monuments. In fact the country contains many menhirs and around 250 dolmens. Many of them are concentrated in the area around the village of Hlyabovo in Topolovgrad, in the province of Haskovo in the south of Bulgaria. Some archaeological research has been carried out here and the work continues, but there is still much that we do not know.
The dolmens lie in the area which was once known as Thrace. This is a part of South East Europe which covers the North East of Greece, the south of Bulgaria and the European part of Turkey. It is bordered by the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Sea of Marmara. The people who built these monuments lived here between 600 and 400 BC and all the monuments were built within a space of 200 years. That means that the dolmens are not as old as the Dutch hunebeds built by the Funnel Beaker Culture (3,400 BC.)
Dolmen with a ‘soul hole’
Many of the dolmens in Bulgaria, including the ones in the region of Hlyabovo, have a so-called ‘soul hole’. This is something which is quite common in Eastern Europe and the Middle East but is only rarely found in Western Europe although there are a few examples in Belgium and France. Sometimes called just an ‘opening’, the hole supposedly makes it possible for the soul or spirit of the dead person to go outside the tomb.
More information about the prehistoric monuments near the village of Hlyabovo can be found at http://www.haskovo-bulgaria.com/en/page_33_69.html