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History Historic Buildings

Roman Thermae of Odessos

REF NR: 10364

The big Roman Thermae of Odessos were built in the late 2nd century, probably during the rule of emperor Septimius Severus (193 - 211).

The type of the baths is imperial and they are among the biggest in the Emprire spreading on an area of 7000 sq m.



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The architectural plan is strictly  symmetrical and the building incorporates all the traditional parts of the Roman Thermae: premises for bathing in cold, warm and hot water, dressing rooms, a big hall for recreation and sports, service rooms ect. A sanctuary of the gods of health Asclepius and Hygeia was set up in the complex.



Most likely in the buidling itself or in the vicinities there was also a brothel. The decoation of the thermae was particulary luxuriant including marble panels for the walls, marble decorative details, sculptures and mosaics ect. Large windows were illuminating the interior.

Extremely important for functioning the baths were the underground boiler premises (praefurnii). They provided the hot air for the floor heating system (the hypocaust) and that in the walls. Also there, in special cauldrons they heated the watre for the warm and hot premises.

The Big Roman Thermae of Odessos are the largest ancient building not only in the city but also on the territory of present day Bulgaria. Keeping such a complex, however, was extremely expensve and it comes as no surprise that towarsd the end of the 3rd century the big baths stopped functioning.


An Artists impression of how the whole Thermea appeared


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