Postcard from... Sozopol
Monday 03 June 2013
A nasty-looking molar, some chips of cranium and knuckle. Not the obvious stuff on which to build a tourism industry. But in Sozopol on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, these are “a miracle” transforming the economy.
That’s because the bones supposedly belong to St John the Baptist. Scholars were sceptical when they were found in 2010 on the nearby island of St John – a popular joke among archaeologists is that St John would have needed 12 heads and six hands to account for all the global discoveries of his body parts. But experts from Oxford and Copenhagen universities last year dated them to the first century AD and said the DNA belonged to a Middle Eastern man, giving the claims more credence than most. Pilgrims by the coachload are now showing up even in the off-season to kneel before the bones. Sozopol’s cobbled streets and sunny beaches were already a draw, and for those unswayed by bits of saintly skull, far more history is now emerging. Archaeologists this year unveiled the remains of Roman baths and a temple to Poseidon.
“It’s one of the few places you can see the evolution of worship from Greek to Roman to Christian in one place,” said Dimitar Nedev of Sozopol’s Archaeology Museum.
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck divorce: Memorable quotes from one of Hollywood's most scrutinised couples
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful Service Engineer...
£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...