Published: December 2006

Bulgaria's Gold Rush

Thracian King Masks

Gold Rush

The race is on to uncover the golden splendors of its Thracian past before sites are looted and developers move in.

By A. R. Williams
National Geographic Staff
Kenneth Garrett

For looters, Bulgaria is El Dorado, a vast trove of buried treasure where some graves have harbored gold since at least 4000 B.C. Through the sweep of many centuries, this strategic bridge between Asia and western Europe saw a long succession of invaders, conquerors, soldiers, travelers, traders, and settlers. Thracians, Macedonians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Slavs, Bulgars, Byzantines, and Turks all made their markā€”and left artifacts that now mean money in the bank for anyone who succeeds in digging them up.

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