Deultum – Little Rome in Thrace near Burgas
The National Archaeological Reserve “Ancient and Medieval Town Deultum – Develt” is situated in village of Debelt, Municipality of Sredets, District of Burgas.
For nearly two thousand years the main economic center of the modern district of Burgas was near the present village of Debelt. In the middle of the first millennium BC it evolved as a powerful economic center. Agriculture, fisheries, metallurgy, crafts and trade flourished. On a fragment of an amphora dated from IV c. BC was discovered a scratched graphite inscription that reads “Dobelt” – Thracian name of the settlement.
During the time of Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasian in the 70s of the first century AD colony of veterans from 7th Augustan Legion of the Roman army was founded. It was named Colonia Flavia Pacis Deultensium, known from historical sources as Deultum. This is the only colony of veterans located in Bulgarian lands. Over the next three centuries the city grew and established itself in the Roman province of Thrace as the center of a vast territory and minted over one hundred and fifty emissions of its own bronze coins.
Moving the capital of the Roman Empire in the thirties of the fourth century AD from Rome to Constantinople had influence on the development of the city. It became part of the defense system of the center of the empire against barbarian invasions and important communication point. It is also known by the name of Develtos and is the third largest city in the province of Hemimont with its bishop being subordinate to the Archbishop of Adrianople.
In 812, after a fierce siege Khan Krum (802-814) conquered the fort, expelled locals led by Bishop Gregory to the north of Danube River and had ancient Bulgarians settle in their place. After year 816 AD a custom-house was built nearby Debelt in which in the course of nearly two hundred years the emperors of Byzantium would pay annual tribute to the Bulgarian rulers.
Around 13th-14th c. the rise in the level of the Black Sea led to the gradual swamping of the plain around the firth and siltation of the fairway to Develt. The port was moved to the east, closer to the today’s Bourgas Bay. Life in the city declined and after thirteenth century its name did not appear in historical sources anymore.
Today reserve’s proximity to the Black Sea coast gives the village of Debelt a chance for new economic prosperity and to become an interesting and intriguing destination for anyone who wants to get acquainted with the ancient Roman colony Deultum.