Roman Thermal Spa Banja Bansko


The thermal spa is located on the eastern part of the Bansko village, 14 km southeast of Strumica, at the foot of the Belasica Mountain, near the thermal spring of "Parilo".

Once magnificent and powerful, with clouds of steam above it, the "Parillo" spring inspired people̓s fantasy and encouraged people̓s respect. Before its holiness, people said their prayers, vows and gratitude, leaving a large number of coins to testify that the spring itself was a place of worship from the 4th century BC until the 3rd century AD.

Due to the spring flowing for millennia, the sediments contained in the water form a cave very close to the spring, on the northeast of it. The exposed part of the cave has an area of about 30 m². In it, there is a pentagonal pool of an area of about 15 m². A lot of coins were found in the pool. The excavation of the terracotta figurine of Aphrodite with a dolphin initiates that the sanctuary was dedicated to this goddess.

Towards the end of the 1st century, a construction that became an integral part of the sanctuary was built. The construction had 4 rooms with an area of 102 m². Three of them are vaulted. The floor of the room is built in the opus spicatum technique, i.e. small made specifically for that purpose bricks were used.

The Temple of Hermes was located west of the sanctuary. It had a long and narrow corridor in the southwest-northeast direction. On the southwestern side, there was a long and open porch. On the opposite end, in the same direction towards the southeast, there was a larger room that partially lies below the northwestern wall of Room 3 of the Great Bath. This room was the essence of the temple. Being filled with water from the holly spring of "Parillo" , it itself turned into a place where by bathing people came in personal contact with the gods. Also, it was a prayer room, the room where gratitude was demanded and expressed, i.e. the place where gifts and the votive gifts were left.

All marble sculptures, or parts of them, were found in the remains of the templès area. On the frontal part of a sculpture pedestal there is an inscription: "Valeria Dionike, the supreme priestess, dedicated this statue to Hermes". There is another marble pedestal with an inscription from which can be read only the cognomen of the dedicant Python.

The temple was carefully demolished, in the second, at the latest in the third decade of the 3rd century.

The Great Bath was with a total area of 623 m². It had 11 rooms, 10 of which were fully excavated and exceptionally well preserved. It was built in three phases, beginning from the forth decade of the 3rd century and existed until the middle of the 5th century.

The Room 3 represents the first phase of the bath. It is the room with a large pool filled in with warm water – natatio – which covers an area of almost 93 m². On the left and on the right of the southeastern wall, there were semicircular bathtubs, and a walled pedestal between them, with thick layers of limestone. On the pedestal, a fountain was placed, from which the water in the pool was poured.

East of the Room 3 a sudatorium was attached – a system of three rooms connected to each other: 1, 4 and 10, which were used as a sauna. The complete hypocaustic heating system of the floor, walls and baths is preserved. The convex construction in the part above the bathtub is semicircular, while the space of the hypocaust was sealed with a groin vault.

From the northeastern side of Room 3, there were two rooms that functioned as an apoditerium and a frigidarium. Room 2, that is, the apoditerium had a roof structure. In the western half of the northwestern wall of Room 5, there was a semicircular bath with a half-cupola and a fully preserved roof structure. The bath was probably filled with cold water, so this room can be defined as a frigidarium. These two rooms were part of the second construction phase of the spa.

Room 6 used to be the core around which the bath evolved in its third phase. The central place in the room occupied the pool – natatio whose floor was block paved. In the pool, tubs were used, too – labrum in the three niches of the northeastern wall. The room was arched with a semicircular vault.

DMS 41°23'11.4"N 22°35'55.7"E

Lat, Long 41.386486, 22.598804