Author: P. Baronio
The archaeological surveys conducted since 1960 in the Bulgarian town of Sandanski (currently considered the ancient Parthicopolis) led to the discovery of three Christian basilicas built between 4th and 6th centuries, whose decorations testify to the prosperity of the town until the end of the Justinian age. The churches are located a short distance from each other, along one of the roads that crossed the lower sector of the town in the N-S direction. The largest of them, called basilica n. 4 or ‘episcopal church’, was equipped with a monumental courtyard accessible from a semicircular arcade that defined a ‘sigma plaza’ open to the street. Excavations carried out between 2014 and 2015 brought to light part of the porch and made it possible to recover some of its marble architectural elements. This paper, through the analysis of the recently published graphic reconstruction of the semicircular arcade, proposes a new reconstructive hypothesis of the building, supported by considerations made by observing the remains in situ. What emerges is a monumental structure of considerable visual impact, whose exceptional features underline the value of the episcopal church within the town, allowing to define interesting parallels with other buildings edified in the Balkans during the proto-Byzantine period.