St. Nicholas Monastery
The archaeological complex was studied in the period 2008 – 2013 and is situated at the entrance of the Old town of Sozopol. The site is multilayered and includes archeological structures, related to the history and cultural heritage of ancient Apollonia and the late antique and medieval town of Sozopol from the 7th century BC to the 17th century AD.
In the western part of the complex the late antique fortress wall of Sozopol is situated (4th – 6th century AD), in front of which a second wall (6th – 14th century AD) was built at the end of the 6th century AD, which encircles the entire peninsula and forms the fortification of the town. The southern entrance of the fortress, flanked by two U-shaped towers (bastions) and levels of three paved streets in front of it are preserved. At the beginning of the 7th century AD, a one-nave church was built in front of the gate, in the altar of which a ceramic vessel was found, still preserving the relics of a saint. Probably the temple was dedicated to St. Nicholas. A new, more representative, three-nave basilica was erected on the church, which was rebuilt at the end of the 12th – beginning of the 13th century AD, and a monastery arises, that continued to exist until the 17th century AD. Around the church complex a large Christian necropolis with over 800 graves was studied, dating back to three periods – 7th – 10th, 11th – 14th and 15th – 17th century AD. A ritual against vampyration was registered at one of the graves.
West of the church an Early Byzantine bath is situated (5th – 6th century), part of an alleged bishop’s residence.
The Christian complex was built on the remains of an ancient sanctuary. An ancient altar from the end of the 4th century BC was discovered in the lower layers, as well as part of a sanctuary that falls under the foundations of the Byzantine bath.
For the antique crafts testifies the discovered ceramics furnace (5th century BC) and a complex of metallurgical furnaces (end of the 6th century BC), located at the eastern part of the archaeological site.
Several graves from the end of the 7th century BC – beginning of the 6th century BC have been discovered here, forming a small necropolis of the first settlers of Apollonia.