Stela Stefanova

The growing interest in the cultural heritage and the increasingly tangible cultural motivation of tourists in their travels outline a clear trend for the imposition of cultural tourism among the leading types of tourism. The sites from the Roman era, which are distinguished by their recognizability and traditionally arouse great interest, are widely used in the development of popular products of cultural tourism, imposed on the world tourist market. The presence of a significant number of archeological sites from the Roman era on the territory of Bulgaria, in the context of the tourism policy in the country and opportunities for public support, incl. financial, are prerequisites for the development of successful products based on archaeological heritage. The Roman archeological heritage as a significant part of the common cultural and historical heritage in the tourism region Rila-Pirin, located in Southwestern Bulgaria, is an essential resource for tourism. In this sense, in the present paper we explore the opportunities for the development of cultural tourism based on the Roman immovable heritage in the area. For this purpose, 17 sites are selected and analyzed. They have been explored through archeological excavations, with preserved and visible on the surface archaeological structures, accessible for visits by tourists, current tourist sites and those with potential for development. All were visited as part of own field research. For the purposes of the article, the immovable Roman archeological monuments are analyzed in three aspects – as a resource for tourism; current state of the archeological monuments as sites for tourism and territorial location and accessibility of the archeological monuments. The condition of the sites is considered in terms of preservation, cultural value, exposure, socialization, organization and functioning, location and distance from each other. The variety of types of sites and discovered archeological structures, their degree of preservation, the natural specifics of the territory in which they are located, and the discovered finds testify to the high expositional and cultural value of the individual immovable Roman archeological sites. Several main thematic hisorical lines have been identified in separate parts of the region, which can be traced and presented – fortress network, village life, Romans and mineral waters, early Christianity. According to the degree of assimilation and tourist suitability, 4 sites stand out as established tourist attractions. (Nikopolis ad Nestum, Archaeological Park Sandanski, Stenos Fortress, Tsari Mali grad), and the rest are considered mostly unknown and with tourist potential. There are also some main positive and negative trends in the use of this type of sites for tourism purposes, related to the projects, maintenance and preservation of the integrity of archaeological structures and adjacent infrastructure, low overall level of tourism marketing in terms of archaeological values, the question of the authenticity and quality of the restorations of the sites. The potential possibilities for using the Roman heritage for the purposes of cultural tourism are also pointed out. They refer to the development of cultural tourism in two directions: cultural tourism based solely on immovable Roman archaeological values within the Rila-Pirin tourist region and cultural tourism in which the immovable Roman archaeological heritage is combined with other anthropogenic and natural landmarks. in the tourist area. Possibilities are offered for combining the Roman sites on the basis of their territorial location, where the other sites are situated around the main archeological monuments, active tourist attractions. There are also opportunities for diversification of the tourist offer by integrating the Roman sites with other traditional tourist attractions and services – diversification and enrichment of the stay in the already established resorts, as part of the programs for hiking, eco, mountain and cycling tourism, as well as part of cross-border products. In conclusion, the Roman heritage as a significant resource for tourism reveals new alternatives for tourism in the region, which will complement the traditional presentation of the region as a destination for mountain, religious and pilgrimage, balneology, spa and wine tourism.

Immovable Roman archaeological heritage, tourism region Rila-Pirin, cultural tourism

Problems of Geography, 2021, Vol.2, DOI:

Author information:
Author: Stela Stefanova
Affiliation: Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

The presented research is under the project “Assessment of the immovable Roman archaeological heritage in the tourist region Rila-Pirin as a resource for tourism and readiness for inclusion in tourist products”, funded by the National Program “Young scientists and post-doctoral students” of the Ministry of Education and Science.

How to cite:
Stefanova, S. (2021). Туристически Район Рила-Пирин – възможност за развитие на културен туризъм, основан на недвижимо римско археологическо наследство. Problems of Geography, 2021, Vol.2, p. 47-74.