Trajan’s Gate

Trajan’s Gate, also Trajan’s Gate or Trajan’s Gate, is the name of a mountain pass, an ancient Roman fortress, and a road tunnel in Ikhtimanska Sredna gora.

The Trajanovi vrata fortress and tunnel are located on the territory of Kostenets municipality. A 12.5 km section of the Trakia highway passes through the tunnel and the entire pass.

The passage entered history in 986, when the Byzantine emperor Basil II launched a campaign against Bulgaria in an effort to tear away Bulgarian territories. On August 17, the Bulgarian army led by the future king Samuel met the Byzantines at the Trajan’s Gate pass and completely defeated them (see Battle of Trajan’s Gate).

In the Middle Ages, the pass was called the King’s Pass (Greek: Βασιλική κλεισούρα) or “Royal Gate” (Greek: Βασιλική πολίτη), and later the Bulgarian Pass (Greek: Βουλγαρική κλεισις).

The name Trajan’s Gate was used for the first time by the historian Antonius Bonfinius (1427 – 1502) in connection with the campaign of Vladislav Varnenchik, who crossed the pass with his troops in 1443. During the Ottoman rule, the pass was also called by the Turkish name Kapujik dervent ( in Turkish: kapı – gate, door, and dervent – ​​passage), as well as Markov’s Gate. The huge arch of the Roman gate, about 18 meters high, was preserved until the 19th century.

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