You are here: About the project

About the project

Welcome to the website covering the archaeology works in the region of Gela village, Smolyan municipality of Bulgaria!

The complete name of the project is "Examination, conservation and promotion of Thracian fortress Gradishte and early Byzantium basilica in the region of Gela village, Western Rhodopes, Bulgaria".

This project is being developed by the "Development of the Industrial, Cultural and Natural Heritage Foundation" - village of Gela, Smolyan municipality of Bulgaria and is supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism (BG0050-GAE-00112-E-V1 - EEA FM) with the mediation of Executive Agency of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education.

The aim of this website is to cover all the developments under this project and to be an informational platform for everybody interested in what our ancestors left us as heritage. 


To create new potential for religious and cultural tourism development in the region, by converting the two archaeological sites into tourist sites, based on the scientific and historical significance within Bulgaria and Europe.

Scientific objectives of the project

Unearthing more information about the early Christening of Europe; Conducting interdisciplinary studies on the following subjects:

What were the relations between the spiritual and cultural centers of Philipi on the Aegean Sea coast and Gela?

How Thracians could preserve their cultural identity, while integrating in the newly formed Christian-European world, at the same time.


Preparation works

Cleaning-up and provide access to the Byzantine Basilica and Thracian Fortress
Archaelogy excavations

Preparation for conservation of the  Byzantine Basilica and submitting for approval at The National Institute of Culture Monuments;

Construction works - restoration of the Thracian Fortress; restoration and conservation works on the Byzantine Basilica, including the stone walls restoration and partial covering of the structure.

Publicity of the project

Publications in local and national newspapers and magazines, TV and Radio

A production of 27-minutes documentary film about the project;

Creation of a website in Bulgarian and English;

Design, printing and distribution of brochures, representing the two sites;

Producing and placing sign plates and information boards at appropriate places;

Holding a news-conference for the public to report the results.


September - December 2009

Commissioning and assigning of the of the tenders for the activities of the project;

Tracing and cleaning-up the two sites, creation of a website, project preparation works: legal issues, acquiring of approvals and permits; production sign plates and information boards.

 April - August 2010

Archaeology works and documentary film shooting.

June - December 2010

Conservation works, placement of the sign plates and information boards, erection of the partial covering of the structure, press publications.

January - April 2011

Designing, printing and distribution of the marketing and advertising materials, launch of the documentary film and reporting the results