III. The legacy of Pliska
10. Sculptural decorations
Most of the inscriptions from the pagan times were cut into columns erected at prominent places in Pliska. Besides the texts they carried, the columns contributed to the environment around the stone palatial buildings. The columns carrying the names of the East Thracian fortresses conquered by khan Krum were regarded as triumphal signs and as symbolic trophies captured from these towns. Similar was the function of the large column, found by C. Schkorpil at the hill of Vezir tepe – the highest point of the plains to the south of the earthen rampart. Its diameter of 1 m would correspond to a height of 8-10 m. Its crudely polished surface has a shallow helical flute which makes it resemble the similarly decorated Roman-Byzantine triumphal columns. The poor quality of the marble used betrays a local origin, probably from the quarry in the district of Marcianopolis.
In contrast to Preslav, the public buildings of Pliska were poorly decorated
sculpturally, their interior as well as their façades. The types
of decorations found in the pagan period buildings are facing plates of
white marble, columns and re-used Byzantine capitals. During the Christian
period the cornices under the roofs of some churches were made out of limestone
segments with denticles. The altar barrier of the Palace Church was made
of marbles, decorated with the traditional geometrical and plant-like ornaments.
A lion statue (from Roman times?) and a part of a relief of the Thracian
heros was incorporated into the façade of the eastern gate.
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