Bargala (Баргала) – Late Antique town near Stip (Штип)


Bargala (Баргала) is ancient city located 12 km northeast of the town of Stip (Штип), near Upper Kozjak (Горен Козјак) end Kozjachka River (Козјачка Рела) at the foot of Mount Plachkovica (Плачковица).

The name Bargala has a Thracian origin, connected to the river Bregalnica it means “spilled water”.
In VII and VI century BC this area was within the territory occupied by the Payon (Пајонско) tribe Deroni (Дерони) which were among the first in the world that made silver coins.
Astibos (Астибо) is the ancient name of the river Bregalnitsa, in which according to ancient historiographer Polyenus (Полиен), the Paeonian kings in the act of coronation ritual had to bathe.
The first location of the town was 1 km south of the river, in the area “Hamche” (Хамче) in the village Karbinci (Карбинци).
In the V century AD city is deeply Christianized, and the bishop was named Dardanius (Дарданиус)  participant from Macedonia Prima (Македониа Прима) and was enrolled in the acts of the ecumenical koncil which was held at Chalcedon (Халкедон) in 451.
The unstable situation in the late Roman Empire IV and V century, that caused flurries of barbarian tribes from the north, forced the city residents to withdraw 4 km to the south, at the foot of Mount Plachkovica and the area “Kozji Grad”, where they had continued the urban lifestyle.
Following the pattern of late Roman castrum strengthened by 6 defensive towers built here was established early Byzantine city Bargala area of 4.7 ha.
The entrance of the town was through the main gate, which was well defended. It was built on the north wall which amounted height up to 12 m.
The darkest historical period that lasted from the end of VII to IX century among the ruins of the city and around city walls settled small groups of people whose way of life was rural and their material culture significantly lag behind the previous Roman.
In the tenth century at the space near the ancient Bargala and Kozjachka river was formed a rural settlement called Kozjak that existed until the XIX century. Here was built a small church dedicated to St. George, whose architectural and artistic values occupy a high place in Byzantine art.


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