Veliko Tarnovo (Veliko Tarnovo)
Veliko Tarnovo (Veliko Tarnovo) – Ancient city in Bulgaria, located 186 km from Varna and 234 km from Sofia. Population – 67,099 people (2010).
Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most visited and most ancient cities of Bulgaria, part of the territory of which is declared a museum-reserve.
The history of settlements in the vicinity of Veliko-Tarnovo goes back to the Stone Age. The first key date in the history of the city – 1185. During the uprising, the Bulgarian feudal police Peter and Asen overthrew the Byzantine dominion and created the second Bulgarian kingdom.
In 1186-1393 there was the capital of the second Bulgarian kingdom, the location of the coronary of the Bulgarian kings and the residence of the Archbishop.
When the reign of such kings as Ivan Asen II (1218-1241), Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) and Ivan Shishman (1371-1393), the city became a major religious and economic center in the Balkans. Local merchants established trade relations with many European cities, including Genoa and Venice. Spiritual, literary and artistic life of the city reached an unprecedented heyday. Contemporaries in their enthusiastic descriptions called Great-Tarnovo "Queen cities" and "The second after Constantinople".
In 1393 Tarnovo captured the Turks, the city was burned and declined. Almost all the monuments of the era of the heyday of culture were destroyed.
Only in the XVIII century Veliko Tarnovo awakens to a new life. Large houses are built on the slopes of two coast of the river. Since then, excellent samples of original, typically Bulgarian architecture have been preserved.
Tarnovo twice occupied the Russians during the Russian-Turkish wars in 1810 and 1877.
In 1879, the first, Tyrnovsky Constitution of Bulgaria (Third Bulgarian Kingdom) was adopted in Tarnovo (the third Bulgarian Kingdom), which was operating until December 1947, when the People’s Republic of Bulgaria was formed.
Old part of Veliko-Tarnovo is located on three hills – Tsarevets, Trapezian and Light Mountain.
Hill Tsarevets – During the second Bulgarian kingdom, the royal courtyard, boyars and the patriarch were located here. The royal palace, Patriarch Palace and a lot of Orthodox Cathedrals. The hill is surrounded by the Yantra River and the fortress wall (wall thickness to 3.6 m), erected on natural sheer rocks.
On the hill is the same Fortress Tsarevets, For the most part restored, as it suffered greatly during the earthquake of 1913. Of the events constructed once, only one was preserved, now called «Baldoinova Kula».
At the top of the hill towers Patriarchal Cathedral Ascension, Restored on the Old Foundation. Walls are decorated with frescoes depicting the scenes of Bulgarian history and the era of the national revival.
The hill in the evenings are illuminated by spotlights, for tourists there is an audiovisual representation "sound and light" that will partly recreate before the eyes of the audience the majestic image of the city, who once considered "second after Constantinople".
Hill Trapezian – During the excavations, the remains of stone fortifications and 17 churches built in the XII-XIV centuries were found here. In churches, traces of painting and mosaics, ceramic details have been preserved.
At the foot of the hills of Tsarevets and the Trapezian, on both shores of the Yantra river, the picturesque medieval Assistant Quarter – Asenova Mahala. Here are many churches:
Church of St. Dimitra Solunsky (1185) – In its walls, a call for an uprising against the Byzantine dominion, which led to the creation of the second Bulgarian kingdom. Especially impressive looks decorated with elegant arcades facade of the temple.
Church of Sainry Martyrs – was built in 1230. He is the tomb of several Bulgarian kings, the place of proclamation of the independence of Bulgaria in 1908. From that era to us reached not only separate fragments of frescoes, but also ancient columns. The inscriptions on them, made at Starobolgar and Greek, – the most ancient preserved texts of the early Middle Ages. True, the columns can now be seen at the National Historical Museum in Sofia. Over the years have been excavated and restoration work for many years. Therefore, there is no access to tourists here.
Church of St. George – small temple, with magnificent frescoes made mainly in XVII in.
Church of Saints Peter and Paul (XIII-XIV BB.) – A small temple, who managed to stand during the periods of persecution and destruction, suffered greatly during the earthquake of 1913. Very interesting well-preserved frescoes of XIV-XVII centuries. – Wonderful sample of the picturesque school of Tarnovo, for which the individualization of the characters is characteristic. Above the entrance is both celestial patrons of the church -. Peter and Paul, as well as. John Rilsky and Life Saints.
The picturesque core of modern Veliko-Tarnovo is Old city, Arriving in the era of the Bulgarian Renaissance to the south and west of the Hill of Trapezian. His architectural originality is that many colorful houses in the national style seems to hang over the river Yantrah, creating a magnificent panorama.
In the old town on the street Rakovski work Old handicraft workshops, Presenting interest to tourists. On the same street is located and Story Yard Haji Nicola In the style of Constantinople Caravan Sarayev. This building stands on the slope, and its individual outguns have from one to three floors.
Gurko Street is notable for superbly renovated buildings of the XIX century with benches on the first floors, allowing to imagine how the city looked in an old. Among all buildings allocated House Sarafina, where the interior museum and the XIX folk crafts are opened.
Ancient village Arbanasi – Located 3 km north-east of Veliko Tarnovo. It was founded in the XV century by Albanians from South Epira, marched here by the Turkish authorities because of their frequent uprisings. Hence the name of the village «Arbanasi»: so in the Middle Ages called Albanians Byzantine geographers and historians.
In 1538, Sultan Suleiman magnificently gave the village of his son-in-law of Rushem Pasha, after whose death, it passed into the hands of his heirs. In this regard, only the local faeel had the right to collect here and judge the locals. Since the village was freed from the ruinage taxes in favor of centralized state power in the Ottoman Empire, its inhabitants could engage in accommodating crafts and trade, and also had a privilege duty free to trade their products throughout the Ottoman Empire.
It is not surprising that in the village there were many prosperous merchants and artisans in those years, who conducted extensive construction and could spend considerable funds for the situation and decorate their homes.
These houses are one of the main attractions of the village. The house was usually located in the depths of a spacious yard for massive wooden gates, hard-hearted glands. The stone houses themselves resemble impregnable fortresses with fences 2-2.5 meters, with solid basements, the thickness of the walls of which reaches 1 m, forged lattices on the windows, with caches in which you can penetrate through disguised in deep vaulted niches. Of the 80 preserved houses 36 are national cultural monuments.
National cultural monuments are the five churches in Arbanasi: the Nativity of Christ,. George, St. Atanasa, St. Archangelov Mikhail and Gabriel and St. Dmitry.
Of particular interest is the church of the Nativity of Christ, the exact date of construction of which is not established, but about which it is known that in 1637-1649 it has been expanded and reconciled. Church of the Inccan in the Earth, with hidden domes, without a bell tower has a very ascetic appearance. But inside it is a genuine gallery. 3500 images owned by brush unknown masters of various eras completely cover its walls from the inside. Here, for the first time in Bulgaria, the "Wheel of Life" has been depicted – His birth, reaches of maturity, old age and death.
Preobrazhensky monastery (XI century) – Acting men’s monastery, located 7 km from Veliko Tarnovo. Was destroyed during the Turkish conquest of Bulgaria. Was restored in the XIX century. Magnificent painting and frescoes deserve special attention.
Kilifarev monastery – The current Orthodox Monastery, located 12 km from Veliko Tarnovo. It was the basics between 1348 and 1350 by the Bulgarian enlightener and a pistributor Feodosius Tarnovsky, who created one of the most important centers of medieval Bulgarian education and literature – Kilifarev school of literature. The monastery was rewritten and litrorship books were translated, chronicles were written, collections of the life of saints were compiled.
The monastery complex was built as a fortress, it was surrounded by fortified walls, an observation tower in several floors was located in the courtyard. After the Turkish conquest of Bulgaria, he was destroyed to the ground and was restored in 1718 in a new place (at the next hill).
In 1842, the main temple of the Kiliffares Monastery – the church of the Nativity of the Virgin, was rebuilt into the mononophogne, square in terms of a dome. Altar and two concave from the old building. During this reconstruction in the monastery in 1849, two residential buildings in the style of revival were erected.