10 Things You Should Know About Cholakova Mound, Bulgaria’s Forgotten Stonehenge

Cholakova Mound had the potential to become a major tourist attraction in Bulgaria but unfortunately, preservation never took place. Today, almost nothing remains from the original cromlech built more than 2500 years ago.

The history of Cholakova Mound began at the beginning of our century when the team of archaeologist Georgi Kitov excavated a burial mound, which immediately aroused the interest of scientists: a megalithic monument made from large stones arranged in a flawless circle was revealed before their eyes.

Albeit it might not be as significant in size or purpose as similar monuments like Stonehenge, for example, Cholakova Mound had the potential to become a major tourist attraction in Bulgaria but more importantly, reveal important bits of unknown history.

Unfortunately, the Bulgarian government failed completely and their actions led to the complete abomination of an ancient megalithic monument that quickly became known as Bulgaria’s Stonehenge.

Here is the entire unfortunate story of the Cholakova Mound explained in 10 short facts.

1. The ancient Cromlech included 22 upright stones arranged in a perfect circle

Information about Cholakova Mound has always been limited and this is why nobody knows for sure whether the stones were 22 or more. Some eye-witnesses claim that the stones were 24 but based on the archaeologist who excavated it, they were 22.

2. The diameter of the circle was about 7 meters

Obviously, Cholakova Mound was not one of the grand megalithic complexes that we see in other places around Europe. However, the perfect circular shape of the cromlech was truly impressive and led to certain theories about its origin.

3. Archaeologist Georgi Kitov called Cholakova Mound an ancient astronomical observatory dated to the 6th century BC

Dr. Kitov defined the burial facility as an astronomical observatory from the 6th century BC, connected with the observation of celestial bodies and determination of the time of day and year.

4. The cromlech was completely buried under a mould which is extremely uncommon for sites of this kind

The most surprising fact here is that the megalithic complex was purposely buried which is not something you see with megalithic complexes around the world. In fact, from what I read about it, I believe it is the only cromlech in the world to be buried all the way back to ancient times.

5. Archaeologists could not excavate the stones completely since they appeared unstable

The only way for the stones to remain standing was with the support of the mound.
The only way for the stones to remain standing was with the support of the mound.

According to the archaeologists, scraping the soil to the very bottom would lead to the collapse of Cholakova Mound. Their evaluation suggests that the stones are practically not driven into the ground and cannot stand upright on their own. Only the outer ring of the original mound supported them.

6. No scientific publications mention Cholakova Mound and none mention about any particular discoveries on the site

One would expect that Cholakova Mound will get a lot of public and scientific attention but on the contrary, almost nothing about the site is mentioned everywhere and there is no information about artifacts or any specific finds.

7. Unfortunately, Cholakova Mound has now gone through systematic destruction that left it unrecognizable

The discovery of Cholakova Mound in 2002 promised to become an archaeological sensation, but in practice, it marked the beginning of the systematic destruction of the monument to this day. No reservations have been made since and it would be easy to pass through the site and not even realize that it is there nowadays. 

8. Soon after the original discovery, the site of Cholakova Mound was abandoned

Cholakova Mound has been mentioned several times by the Bulgarian government in the past. Every time, there are talks of making it an important tourist center and continuing with excavations in the region as certainly, the land holds many other ancient secrets. Yes, but all the funding for these programs has been stolen and never reached its final destination.

9. By 2009, almost all megaliths had fallen

After being excavated and examined by Dr. Kitov’s team in 2002/2003, the cromlech was abandoned. No protective canopy has been built over the site, nor has it been preserved. Left unprotected from the weather, the stones began to crumble too quickly from erosion. By 2009, almost all the stone pillars had fallen while many were broken in pieces.

10. Today, Cholakova Mound has become one with nature while most of the upright stones have been stolen or destroyed

Here you see Cholakova Mound as it is today from a similar angle to the photograph from the discovery. As you can see, literally nothing remains as the site has been taken back by nature.
Here you see Cholakova Mound as it is today from a similar angle to the photograph from the discovery. As you can see, literally nothing remains as the site has been taken back by nature.

As you can probably tell by the pictures I added, Cholakova Mound looks nothing like an ancient monument today. Almost nothing has remained. Even most of the megaliths that had fallen have been stolen by treasure hunters.

Personal Thoughts

As a native Bulgarian, learning about such unfortunate events connected to our heritage is more than saddening. I can hardly imagine something like that to happen in a foreign country but unfortunately, many Bulgarian historical sites have been torn apart by the lack of funding and theft.

I also understand that Cholakova Mound was not a grandeur megalithic complex, nor does it come close to the famous ones abroad. Nevertheless, it had its uniqueness, especially given that it is one of the few, if not the only purposely buried cromlech in the world.

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