Village of Nikyup, Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo


Opening hours:



From November to March, upon request.


Veliko Tarnovo Regional Museum of History

The city of Victory near the Danube (Nicopolis ad Istrum) was founded by Em­peror Marcus Ulpius Trajan in honour of the end of the Dacian war (101-106). The settlement was built on a slightly elevat­ed plateau on the left bank of the Ros­sitsa River. The foundation of Nicopolis ad Israum was hewn on the Trajan’s Column, located at San Marco Square in Rome.
Nicopolis ad Istrum is the city where the biggest number of roads passed in Antiquity. Two of the important roads of the Empire crossed in its outer periph­ery, mainly from Odessos (Varna) to the western Roman provinces and from Novae (Svishtov) to Byzantium (Istanbul).
The city was built based on the so-called “orthogonal system” in which the main streets are situated north-south and west-east, as all others are parallel to them and intersect at right angles. All of them are paved with large slabs of dolomitized limestone and delineated with curbs. A drainage system was built under the pavement, which collected and drained waste water through a main canal.
Around the central square (agora), built according to the Malaysian manner, the remains of a cannonade, a small theatre, public buildings and shops were found. There was a public bath, as remains of floor heating have been found in some buildings.
The city initially had no fortress walls, but they were erected at the end of the 2nd century with a height of up to 8 me­tres after a devastating barbaric attack. The north and south gates are well pre­served, built of well-worked quadrae and framed with flanking
 towers up to 12 m tall. The main gate called the Porta Ro­mana was located westward – facing the capital of the Roman Empire.
The city was supplied with water through aqueducts, the longest of which was 27 km.
Nicopolis ad Istrum was an economically powerful city with a rich cultural life. Proof of its busy trade was found in coins minted at the urban mint, which put into circulation over 1100 different types. Stone-cutting, mashing, veterinary medi­cine, pottery, and other crafts were well developed. Some residents were profes­sionally engaged in choral singing.
Because of the heterogeneous ethnic ori­gins of the inhabitants, many cults were professed. The Necropolis of the city was located on both sides of the road to No­vae and to the west. 121 mounds have been preserved.
It is believed that the ancient city was destroyed at the beginning of the 7th cen­tury by the Avars.
The remins of Nicopolis ad Istrum Modern offer modern people a good idea of what a Roman city looked like.


There is evidence that two emperors, Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla, visited the city several times. It is likely that it was also visited by the Emperors Trajan and Hadrian.


Archaeologists have discovered in Nicopolis ad strum a unique building for the Roman world – a Thermoperipatos. This was a heated covered space for walks and conversations of the citizens. The building had a built-up area of 1952 m², it had four entrances formed with steps, columns, capitals, frieze and architrave, and a pediment decorated with a shield and spears. There were 13 shops

on each long side with entrances to the streets. This was the ancient version of the modern shopping mall.