A huge fortress, still buried under Slava Rusă village

Slava Rusa village of today is on top of the impressive ancient city of Ibida. The archaeological site, as much as it was discovered, tells the incredible story of a Roman-Byzantine settlement that once was bigger and stronger than even the more famous Histria, Tomis or Callatis.

Ibida or Polis (L)ibida, as was called by the great archeologist Vasile Parvan, was a huge fortress stretching over 24 ha. It had 24 defense towers, a fortification line of over 2000 m in length and 3 access gates. But its most special feature was that it was the only fortress in Dobrogea that was crossed by a small river called Slava. Ibida’s location was at the crossroads of some important routes, having a big contribution for its development. It is said that at the peak of its glory it had over 10.000 inhabitants. It also had a defensive system made of several fortifications on the nearby hills (such as the fortress of Harada) and many observation posts.

Latest archeological research revealed that Ibida (Romanian and Roman-Byzantine) had a relatively short life of about three centuries. It was founded in the 4th century A.D., then rebuilt by Emperor Justinian (527-565) and abandoned a few decades later. It was founded during the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337) under the rule of the Western Roman Empire and it was abandoned during the rule of the Byzantine Empire (in the 7th century A.D.)

Ibida had times of great prosperity, revealed by its great buildings but also difficult times, when it was repeatedly attacked by the Goths, the Kutrigurs (during Iustinian time) and then by the Avars and Slavs (at the end of the 6th - beginning of the 7th century). Last historical information about Ibida dates from the times of Heraclius, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire (610-641), during this time the fortress was most likely abandoned and never reinhabited.

The misterios castrum on the Harada hill was 3ha in size and was used in the 3rd and 4th century. It had many powerful towers that are still visible today through the forest covering the hill. The purpose of this smaller fortress is not really known. Some theories say that it was a refuge for the inhabitants of Ibida in case of a attack. Most probably it had a military role of surveillance and garrison for troops that were tasked with maintaining order over the region.

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