Mithraeum in Jajce

Description

The antique religious monument of the Mithraeum in Jajce is situated on cadastral plot No. 493, cadastral municipality Jajce I, land registry entry no. 660; and is national property. The temple to Mithras in Jajce is located in a damp site known as Bare, some 200 m to the south-west of the mediaeval town of Jajce, on the left bank of river Pliva.

The remains of the Mithraeum in Jajce were discovered during the construction of a private building.  The site was purchased by the Society for the Preservation of Antiquities in Jajce and provided with protection under the supervision of F. Steiner, engineer.  At first a wooden fence was erected, and soon after this a protective stone structure was erected, which survives to this day. The Mithraeum in Jajce almost certainly dates from the early fourth century CE (D. Sergejevski, 1937, 16).

The spelaeum is hollowed out into the rock, with a floor level some 2.80 m. below ground level. The nature of the soil, moisture and tufa deposits have partly obscured the plan of the Mithraeum. The temple consisted of an irregular square cell about 7 m long. No aparatorium was discovered. The walls of the Mithraeum had no foundations, and were made of marl with no mortar binding and left unplastered. It is assumed that the roof would have been made of brushwood (?) (D. Sergejevski, 1937, p. 13).

The action of water and dripstone deposits caused the walls to fall in, as a result of which only the remains of the south and east walls remain recognizable. The west wall, with a carving in the centre, was almost entirely cut from the living rock. The north wall collapsed and the interior is filled with  limestone deposits. Part of the threshold was discovered in the north-east corner, not in its original position. It is assumed that the entrance was in the east wall, where a limestone block was found that served as threshold.

The remains of stone steps discovered in the south-west corner of the cell indicate that the exit was probably at this point.  The floor was a mix of damp soil and sand (D. Sergejevski, 1937, p. 13).

It is not known when it ceased to be used for worship.  There are no signs of violent or deliberate destruction or fire.

Research and conservation and restoration works

1931:  investigations by D. Sergejevski.
1952:  the protective structure of the Mithraeum in Jajce was repaired.

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