III. The legacy of Pliska
5. Roads, pavements, underground passages
Even as early as K. Shkorpil noticed barely distinguishable depressions left from former roads which led from the gates of the stone fortress towards the exits of the earthen rampart. Signs of such road remain today before the eastern and the western exit of the rampart. These roads had no durable pavement. Such pavement was not found even along the routes between the palace and the gates save for the section near the southern gate, where a part of a stone-paved path leading towards the centre of the Inner town was found. Such (stone) pavement covered the passages at the gates judging from the cart ruts there. The stone pavement at the passage at the southern gate of the Citadel extended inwards and outwards in the form of broad stone paths leading towards the Throne Palace and the Palace Church. Impressive is the road between the stone fortress and the Large Basilica. Extending at 1.3 km in straight line it was covered by crudely formed large stones and was intended for pedestrians only. Its ceremonial-cultic function is obvious. Densely paved with stone plates or with bricks were only the free spaces in the Citadel and the square between the southern wall of the Citadel, the Palace Church and the Throne Palace.
The secret underground passages are one of the main characteristics
of the Palace centre of Pliska. They represented 1 m wide and 1.8-2 m high
trenches paved with bricks and panelled with wood. They were built in two
stages and are entirely connected with the stone buildings construction.
The passages of the first stage connected the Krumís Palace and later Ė
the pagan temple to the north of it with some yet to be identified, but
certainly distant, points. The passages of the second stage served buildings
in the Citadel, leading to the north and to the south of them. One of the
souther galleries crossed throught a specially arched passage through the
foundations of the southern wall of the Citadel and of the fortress wall
and appeared at the surface some 500 m from its beginning. The entrance
shafts-staircases of several underground passages have been found but their
exits beyond the fortress walls are unknown.
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