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"Sostra" Fortress

“Sostra” is very well preserved complex situated on an ancient roman road “Via Trayana”.

The "Sostra" fortress is a Roman military post, built over the ruins of a Thracian settlement. It is situated 2 km north of of Troyan and 28 km south of Lovech. The site islocated on a relatively flat terrain in the valley of the Osam river.

The origin of the word "sostra" comes form ancient Greek and means girdle, bandage, barrier.
It is considered that the name "Sostra" has a meaning of something that blocks the valley.
The location of the fortress is really a key point in the valley of the river (named by the Thracians "Azamus"), surrounded by the hills of Trapezitsa (550 m. over SL) in the north, a branch of the Mikre hills - Popina and Popinka (500 m. over SL) in the west and Sulashko stronghold (500 m. over SL) to the east. In the southern direction the valley continues seperating the lands of the villages Dalbok Dol and Dobrodan.

Analysis of the finds shows, that "Sostra" was a stronghold of a military cohort of about 1000 people and an important military unit on the ancient road Exos - Philipopolis (today accordingly: the village of Gugen on the Danube river bank - the city of Plovdiv), which was connecting the Roman provinces Lower Moesia and Thracia. Besides the fortress, parts of which are visible today, Sostra was actually a big roadside complex including a village situated outside of the fortress walls, whose inhabitants more than likely occupied with the maintenance of the camp, producing of weapons, delivery and trade of different supplies. Very typical in the Roman Empire was, that a creation of any kind of permanent military camp, results in concentration and settling of people around, drawn by the security and the trade posibilities.

Unfortunately in the end of V cent. A.D. the fortress and the village were demolitioned by the Huns and remained unsettled till the late Middle Ages and the beginning of the Bulgarian Renaissance, when new villages and fortified inns were build. The area of Sostra includes not only the fortress, but also craft quarter and a village named Vikus. The fortress itself has a rhombus shape with size 130x130 m. The walls nowadays are buried 2 m. in the ground, but they are gradually disclosing, due to the excavations. In the fortress were found about 30 silver Tetradrahmas coinaged on the island of Thasos and a bronze mask, as well as a lot of antique pottery and decorations. Everything found so far, was completely restored and exhibited in the Historical - craft museum of Troian, except of the bronze mask, which can be seen in the National Museum of History in Sofia.

It is considered to be a parade mask of a high rank Roman officer. It dates back to V-IV cent. B.C. There was found also an inscription in latin, consisting of 15 rows, which says that the Emperor Gallien (the 67th Roman Emperor 253 - 268 A.D.) garrisoned in Sostra the "Red Cohort". This inscription shows the efforts which Rome went to protect which is today Bulgarian territories from the invasion of the Ghotas in 251 A.D., where in a battle near todays town of Razgrad in Bulgaria they defeated the Roman army and killed the predecessor of Gallien - Emperor Decius.
The ambition of the Town Board in Troian is to restore the fortress, which would become a popular site for culture and archaeology tourism. The main sponsors are the Troian municipality, the National Museum of History and Rotary Club.

There is already an information board, signs for the tourists. Currently a complete infrastructure is being constructed, including a car/bus parking.



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