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The St. Petka Samardjiska Church-impressive Sofia's medieval church

The St. Petka Samardjiska Church is one of the few medieval churches which have been preserved in Sofia. The holy shrine was mentioned for the first time in sources from the 16th century. Actually this quaint shrine was built in the 14th century during Ottoman rule which explains why it is below the ground level and very simple in its exterior. It is a small one-naved building partially dug into the ground located in the very centre of both the modern and the antique city, in the TZUM subway. The church features a semi-cylindrical vault, a hemispherical apse, and a crypt discovered during excavations after the Second World War. The walls are 1m thick and made from brick and stone. According to architects, the church is a true model of a medieval construction because of the precise proportions and harmonic forms. The crypt of the church is situated under the temple. It was found after the Second World War. It reveals the historical origin of Sofia, the city of Wisdom.

The temple was built on the foundations of an old Roman temple. Today the church is a monument of culture and a major place of interest not only because of its old history, but also its mural paintings, depicting biblical scenes, which date from different ages//14 th-19 th century/. Hence as you enter the church, make your way upstairs to see the remains of the murals, dating from the beginning of the 15th century. The frescoes depict different scenes from the life of Jesus Christ: his birth, miracles, suffers, crucifixion, funeral and his Resurrection. Art historians believe that all are an invaluable illustration of the best practices in the medieval painting and true evidence for the development of Bulgarian art during the period of Ottoman domination.

The church is dedicated to the Saint Petka, an 11th century Bulgarian saint.
The Church was named after Saint Petka as the saint was a patron of the saddlers who used to perform their rites in the church in the Middle Ages. The name Samardzhiiska comes from the Bulgarian word for the leather craftsmen who made generous donations to the church and had their market nearby.
It was said that under the temple Bulgarian hero Vasil Levski was buried. But this statement is disputable due to the insufficient information and evidence.

The St. Petka Samardjiska Church /St. Petka of the Saddlers/ on the map of Sofia

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