Tatul is a stone sanctuary built by the inhabitants of the Eastern Rhodopes – the Bessi tribe around VI – I millennium BC. It is believed that a Thracian king, who lived 3,500 years ago, was buried there, whose tomb later began to serve as a place of worship for the Thracians. The famous Balkan historian Ivan Venedikov makes his assumptions, referring to the ancient authors – Pausanias, Conon and Euripides. Some of their texts mention two important burials that took place in the Eastern Rhodopes – the burial of the Thracian king Rezos and the burial of Orpheus. According to Euripides, Orpheus was torn by the meanders of Dionysus and then buried by his mother in this very place, while she uttered the words: ’’You are not going to lay in the black earth, you are going to be the prophet of Dionysus.” Over time, the place became sacred to the people of the region, who worshiped their singer and prophet Orpheus.
And here comes an unexpected discovery from our era. One day a group of archaeologists going to the sanctuary for excavations noticed a large oak tree with a vine wrapped around it, laden with grapes. The discovery was totally unexpected, as grapes are not grown anywhere within a radius of tens of kilometers from the sanctuary. The professionals quickly came to the truth – the vine has grown from a seed of a grape, served by the Thracians during one of their rituals, in which grape and wine invariably participate. They did a DNA analysis of the genetic material and it turns out that the vine is of an indigenous cultivar variety aged 3000 years! The scientists named the new discovered variety “The Tears of Orpheus.”
A group of enthusiasts set about reproducing the vine, a few years later they harvested the first quantities of fruit and began to produce wine such as the Thracians drank. The grapes are with high sugar content and resistant to many diseases. The wine is pomegranate red with a taste reminiscent of one of the Mavrud’s clones. And last but not least – very rich in antioxidants. Perhaps that was the secret of the beautiful Thracian women and the fearless, powerful Thracian warriors.
The legendary tales of the Thracian Lowlands region serve as proof of the long-lasting rituals and habit of producing and drinking wine. The cultural history and years of preserved tradition, along with the uniqueness of the grapes are all what characterizes Thracian Lowlands region as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) nowadays. Seek out the labels PGI/PDO and taste history in a glass of wine!
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