Bulgaria is one of the countries with the oldest winegrowing tradition in Europe. The origins on the territory of the present state, based on archaeological findings and handed down texts, suggest a beginning already 5,000 years ago. Thracian tribes north and south of the Balkan Mountains cultivated wild vines and practiced a strong cult in honour of the wine god Dionysus. The Thracians are credited with the cultivation of the oldest Bulgarian grape varieties or their ancestors such as Mavrud, Pamid, Dimyat, Melnik(Shiroka Melnishka) and Gamza(Kadarka). At the time of the Roman Empire, wine from Thrace was a sought-after export article to Greece, Sicily, Asia Minor (Anatolia, Turkey) and Egypt.