Bargala Archaeological Site

Bargala was a Late Antiquity city first time mentioned in 451 AC on the surface of 5 hectares, near the present day town of Stip /10 km/, on the lower slopes of the Plachkovica Mountain. The name Bargala of the city which was of the Thracian origin has also been found on an inscription of the commemorative plaque from 371 on the city gates. Towards the end of the 4th century, the old settlement named Bargala served as a military camp of the Roman legions campaigning in the east. After demolition and citizens built a new city which developed into an important transport and trading center. The city of Bargala became an episcopal seat in the 5th and the 6th centuries, to have continued its importance and pinnacle during the Slavic era of rule. There were three basilica erected at the end of the 4th century and rebuilt and remodeled in the 5th and the 6th centuries.

The episcopal basilica in Bargala site which was built in the standard style of the Old Christian structures on the Balkan Peninsula and the Mediterranean was discovered in the northwest part of the city. It is three-aisle basilica with semi-circular inner and outer apses, with the inner narthex and an exonarthex. The stone plated basilica floors are particularly impressive, with the exception of the northern floor which is covered with a polychromatic mosaic and the ornament swastika. The structure of the Bargala basilica is rich in architectural decoration, of which are particularly interesting the marble capitals with lions heads and vine leaves and features the inscription discovered on a capital in the exo-narthex : “Christ, help your servant, Bishop Hermius“. The city of Bargala reached its pinnacle during the reign of Emperor Justinian I /527-565/. The mound with golden and bronze coins, latest dating from 584/5 was found at the Bargala site on the Bregalnica River. Among the most exclusive finds of Bargala site is a wood-carved plate dating from the end of the 4th century, the only one of its kind in the Balkans, which represents people and lions and geometric decorations.

In the close proximity of the Bargala site, outside the walls of the Early Christian town of Bargala, on the bank of the Kozjačka river, there is the Orthodox church dedicated to Saint George from the 9th-10th century, one of the oldest in Macedonia with fragments of fresco decoration that testify on rich cultural and spiritual life of the Slavic population of Stara Old Serbia.