The ancient city which the modern Sandanski has succeeded has left us the remains of a complex of four basilicas. Two of them are particularly impressive.

The fine mosaics of the Basilica of Bishop John, from the 5th Century, are exhibited in situ in the city's Archaeology Museum. They are rich in early Christian symbolism, abounding in fish, birds, swastikas and flower motifs. A mosaic inscription mentions the name of the building's sponsor, John.

early christian mosaics sandanski bulgaria 

Behind the museum are the much more impressive ruins of the Bishop's Basilica. The complex existed between the 4th and 6th centuries and included a grand church which, according to the man who financed the building, Anthimus, was equal to the palaces of King Solomon. The basilica had a rich decoration of mosaics, frescoes and marble; a large colonnaded atrium with a water fountain; and a baptistry with heating where new adherents to the faith became Christians. In the 6th century, an earthquake caused the basilica irreparable damage - centuries later archaeologists discovered its southern wall fallen as if pulled down by a giant hand. The Bishop's Basilica was completely renovated in 2015. 

early christian mosaics sandanski bulgaria

early christian bishop baslica sandanski bulgaria

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