Kaleto Fortress – the village of Koshnitsa
The late antique and medieval fortress near the village of Koshnitsa is located on a conical peak of marbled limestone (1006 m), which in the north-south direction is drilled by a passage cave. It is also a Byzantine castle during its first period of existence and has the military-tactical tasks of the Smolyan fortress, which is located on the route of the Central Trans-Rhodope Road through the Middle Rhodopes.
Archaeological excavations here have registered two periods of operation – I in the VI century and II in the XI-early XIII century. This chronology was confirmed in the study of the preserved fortress chapels in the southern part of the fortress.
The walls of the fortress are 1.70-1.80 m thick. The construction technique is double-sided masonry, made of crushed limestone mixed with white mortar. The northern and western walls have been discovered. Their total length reaches 80 m. The maximum preserved height of the walls is 3 m. An outer battle tower was discovered at the southern end of the western wall.
Archaeological excavations have found evidence of the use of the peak with the Passage Cave as a rock sanctuary, turned into a fortress during the Eneolithic era (V-IV millennium BC). Prerequisite for this are the favorable natural conditions: a large natural housing shelter with an easily defensible peak for fortification above it and nearby water sources. The cultural strata along the better-preserved northern fortress wall marked several culminations in the use of the peak during the various epochs, most probably related to population migrations, which inevitably led to military conflicts. The analysis of the archeological finds shows a tangible human presence at the top during the Late Eneolithic, the Early and Late Bronze Ages, the Early Iron Age (XI-VI centuries BC), the Thracian-Roman period (I-III centuries), VI centuries and XI-XIII centuries.
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