Sanctuary of the Nymphs and Aphrodite

Local people have worshipped the site of the Sanctuary of the Nymphs and Aphrodite for centuries. Only in recent years, the archaeological research reveals that the site is actually a large and wealthy Roman villa rustica.

How to make this compound archaeological site more communicative, comprehensible and recognisable without being intrusive? How to express the strong connections with the nature? How to interpret the various spatial and functional relations within the complex? How to keep the living traditions? How to intervene in order to protect the ruins and at the same time facilitate the still ongoing archaeological researches?

We developed a strategic project based on the principles of integrity, flexibility, reversibility, accessibility and continuity. Our approach gives priority to the intuitive perceptions of the archaeological complex as a place that one gradually discovers for themselves. We rely on the inborn curiosity of people. All the conservation interventions are limited to the necessary minimum to protect the original structures. A new mirror-clad platform gives a stunning vista to the site and the landscape but also recreates the landmark of the ancient mausoleum nearby. Concrete information elements interpreting stone blocks scattered around the site provide unobtrusive and coherent guidance through the complex. A specially designed movable archaeological station facilitates the work of the archaeologists and acts as a ‘pop-up museum’ that changes its place and content following the archaeological research.

  • Authors:
    Donika Georgieva, Miroslav Velkov, Dessislava Kovacheva
  • Collaborators:
    Krasimira Frangova (conservation), Konstantin Velinov (structural engineer), Miroslav Yamakov (electrical engineer), Kalina Shilova-Dzhanikova (surveyor), Gregory Markov (lighting design), Veselka Katzarova (archaeologist), Elena Panayotova (artworks)
  • Year: 2017-2018
  • Client: Dimitrovgrad Municipality
  • Status: in progress