July 27, 2015
Bulgarian archaeologists recently discovered an 11th century fragment of a distillation vessel used for the production of the country’s traditional fruit brandy, which is known as rakia.
The fragment was uncovered during the excavation works, which are being conducted by the National Historical Museum (NIM) at the medieval Lyutitsa fortress.
The fortress is situated on a hill above the town of Ivaylovgrad and the find was discovered by the team of archaeologist Filip Petrunov, press statement of NIM informs.
This is the second vessel for the distillation of rakia to be uncovered at the fortress and the third one in Bulgaria.
The first vessel at Lyutitsa was found in 2011, while the other one was uncovered in the medieval fortress of Drastar, which is located in the town of Silistra.
All three distillation vessels are dated back to the 11th century, which raises an important point in the ongoing historical debate on tracing back the start of rakia production.
Until recently, historians argued that the production of rakia had started only in the 16th century.
However archaeologist Prof. Konstantin Totev discovered five years ago a fragment of a cup dating back to the 14th century.
The cup bears an inscription of an unknown Bulgarian, who boasted that he had drank rakia at a religious holiday back then.
Another archaeologist, Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov, published the justification of the military commander Lala Sahin Pasha to the Ottoman Sultan for his failure to storm the fortress of Sofia in 1382.
The Ottoman commander complained that Sofia was defended by tough Bulgarians, who would drink rakia before the fight and thus became invincible.
The director of NIM Bozhidar Dimitrov concluded that as long as there is rakia, Bulgaria is invincible.