Ancient Roman Festival ”Nike - The Game and the Victory”
Античен фестивал “Нике - играта и победата”
Nicopolis ad Istrum archaeological park, Nikyup (Veliko Tarnovo province)
reliving the Ancient Roman Age in all its splendour in one of the most glorious Ancient Roman cities in Southeast Europe, in beautiful and friendly Bulgaria. A chance to breath the unique atmosphere of the Roman Limes and its key importance in the development of the Roman Empire and of the whole European civilization as well...
Geographical, cultural and historical context
The village of Nikyup is located in the plains of Central Northern Bulgaria, at about 190 km from the capital city Sofia, and 18 km from Veliko Tarnovo, the "City of the Tsars", famous for its unique architecture and for being the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD). Today Nikyup, part of the Veliko Tarnovo municipality, is famous not only for the mass production of high-quality and tasty watermelons celebrated every summer through a dedicated and very popular festival, but also for the nearby archaeological site of the Ancient Roman and Early Byzantine town of "Nicopolis ad Istrum", one of the best preserved throughout Europe.
Nicopolis ad Istrum, meaning "Victory City on the Danube River", was founded by the Roman Emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus (53-118 AD) to honor his victories over the Thracian tribe of the Dacians between 101 and 106 AD. The town was built on a plateau on the left bank of the Rositsa River at the crossing-point of the two main roads of the Danubian Roman provinces: the one leading from Odessus on the Black Sea (today Varna) to the western Balkan Peninsula, and the other linking the Roman military camp of Novae (today’s Svishtov) on the Danube to Byzantium (today Istanbul). Nicopolis ad Istrum flourished in the 2nd-3rd century AD, during the Nerva-Antonine (96-192 AD) and the Severan (193-235 AD) dynasties, further developing during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (ca. 244-311 AD), being then inhabited by Thracians, Roman military veterans, and settlers from Asia Minor.
Nicopolis ad Istrum, was first destroyed in year 447 AD by Attila King of the Huns, a nomadic people settled in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe, between the 4th and 6th century AD. The city was rebuilt in the 6th century AD as a fortified post of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) and centre of a bishopric, but destroyed once more at the end of the century, this time by the Pannonian Avars, an alliance of several groups of Eurasian nomads of various origins. Between the 10th and the 14th century, Nicopolis rose again over the ancient ruins as a medieval settlement in the Bulgarian Empire. Nowadays the ruins are accessible for tourist visits. The Nicopolis ad Istrum archaeological preserve, situated at about 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo, on the road for Ruse, and 3 km southeast of the village of Nikyup, is managed by the Veliko Tarnovo Regional Museum of History.
Event description and programme
The once glorious Ancient Roman city of Nicopolis ad Istrum comes back to life celebrating its Ancient Roman heritage every summer thanks to a spectacular cultural event, which is organized by the Nikyup Town Council, the Veliko Tarnovo Regional Museum of History and the Association Mos Maiorum Ulpiae Serdicae, and features hundreds of historical reenactors from all over Bulgaria and the neighbouring countries. The festival is held at the Archaeological park Nicopolis ad Istrum near Nikyup village and is aimed to popularize this unique open-air museum contributing as well to the development of cultural tourism in the area.
The visitors can follow historical parades, legionaries’ manoeuvres and drills, demonstrations of Roman and barbaric weapons, battle reenactments, and gladiatorial games. The rich programme includes also living history displays, exhibitions, and workshops devoted to the Ancient Roman coinage, religious rituals, cuisine, fashion and hairstyles. There will be also music and dance shows, theatre and poetry recitals in Latin and Ancient Greek accompanied by ancient musical instruments, as well as the faithful reconstructions of the rite of the foundation of an Ancient Roman city, an Ancient Roman process, a slave market, and a traditional craft market featuring jewellery, ornaments, and pottery among the many goods on display.
A wealth of interactive leisure and educational initiatives await adults and children, including Roman table games and sports, and the reenactment of episodes from the local Roman history, such as the visit of Emperor Caracalla in Nicopolis ad Istrum, and battles from the period of the Roman-Dacian Wars (101–102, 105–106 AD), or the Roman-Gothic Wars (249-554 AD), and the missionary activity of bishop Wulfilla (ca. 311-383 AD), a Goth of Greek descent who served as a bishop and missionary and is credited with the translation of the Bible into the Gothic language.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Ancient Roman Festival ”Nike - The Game and the Victory” official webpages
Event Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/262775700931720/
Event Facebook community page: https://www.facebook.com/Античен-фестивал-Нике-играта-и-победата-228621904545909/
Association Mos Maiorum Ulpiae Serdicae
The Regional Museum of History - Veliko Tarnovo
Address: 6, Nikola Pikolo str., 5000 Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Tel.: +359 (0)62 682511
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ Регионален-исторически-музей-Велико-Търново-179034252300262/
Veliko Tarnovo City Council / Община Велико Търново
Address: 2 Mayka Bulgaria square, PO Box 54, Veliko Tarnovo 5000, Bulgaria
Tel.: +359 (0)62 619203 (main) +359 (0)62 619107 (info center) | Fax: +359 (0)62 627997
Veliko Târnovo Today
Archaeology in Bulgaria
The National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
National Archaeological Institute with Museum – BAS
Address: 2 Saborna Str., 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Tel.: +359 (0)2 9882406 | Fax: +359 (0)2 9882405
Bulgaria Travel - Official Tourism Portal of Bulgaria
Image: Association Mos Maiorum Ulpiae Serdicae
Text sources: Association Mos Maiorum Ulpiae Serdicae, The Regional Museum of History, The National Archaeological Institute , Guide to Bulgaria, Wikipedia, Archaeology in Bulgaria, Bulgaria Travel, Veliko Târnovo Today
Nikyup and the Nicopolis ad Istrum archaeological preserve on Google Maps:
Promos and video reportages of the event:
Exploring Nikyup and Nicopolis ad Istrum archaeological park: