Ref Number: 31
The Early Byzantine episcopal cathedral of Odessos
Ref Number: 31
The Early Byzantine Cathedral of Odessos, also known as the Great Basilica, was erected during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (527-565), in the 5th century. It is a model of early Christian architecture, including theological, aesthetic, and historical elements from the time (Archeology in Bulgaria, 2015).
The Design of the Great Basilica
The cathedral is roughly 100 by 25 meters in size, making it one of the greatest Christian structures in the southern Roman Empire. The cathedral’s floor was lavishly decorated with mosaics, with elaborate designs displaying the hallmarks of early Christian art. This magnificent floor mosaic is now protected and shown in a specially constructed museum (European Heritage Label, 2017).
Discovering and Preserving
The cathedral’s ruins were found by chance during building work in 1985. The archaeological discoveries included marble architectural features, wall decorations, pottery, glassware, and coinage, which provided a glimpse into life during the early Byzantine period (Katsarova, 2016). The Varna Regional Museum of History was in charge of the excavations and restoration.
The Early Byzantine Cathedral of Odessos is a magnificent monument that provides significant insights into early Christian ecclesiastical, architectural, and cultural traditions. Its preservation and acknowledgment at the European level attest to its historical relevance and value as a heritage site.