Ancient Temple of Goddess Cybele in Bulgaria's Balchik on SaleSource: Sofia News Agency (www.novinite.com)
Published Date: 17 Oct 2008
The ancient temple of the Hittite, Phrygian, and Greek goddess Cybele, which was discovered by accident in Bulgaria's Black Sea town of Balchik in May 2007 has been declared for sale, the Varna daily Pozvanete reported.
The owner of the 680-square-meter plot in downtown Balchik, the businessman Boris Kushlev, who also owns a leather factory in Poland, has offered it for sale for the price of EUR 1 000 per square meter, or about EUR 680 000 in total.
The temple of the goddess Cybele is preserved really well, and according to archaeologists, is the only one of its type in Europe. The temple is also the best-preserved building from the Hellenic Age in the Balkans. It includes a number of statutes of Cybele, coins from the time of the Roman Emperor Valens, and other ancient artifacts.
In the words of Darina Mircheva, the Director of the Balchik History Museum, the act of the businessman Boris Kushlev was a sacrilege.
She explained the owner would not sell the plot for anything under EUR 1000 per square meter, and that the state had not made any steps to nationalize the temple even though a commission from the National Institute on Cultural Monuments had visited it five times.
The Mayor of the town of Balchik Nikolay Angelov is quoted as saying that the municipality did not have the sum of almost EUR 700 000 to buy the plot with Cybele's temple.
Angelov explained the owner was ready to exchange it for another piece of real estate property but the acting legislation did not allow such a deal to be made.
The Municipality of Balchik has already spent more than BGN 100 000 in order to cover and secure the temple, which was discovered during the construction of a residential complex.
Thus, unless the Bulgarian state steps in with the needed sum or some other measure, one of the most unique archeological findings in the region in the recent years would remain up for grabs.