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Patriarchal Church

In the central part of Tsarevets, on the highest point, there once towered the Patriarchal church “Holy Ascending of God”. It was built over the ruins of an early Christian church, dating back from the end of the V and the beginning of the VI century. The Patriarchal church represented a three-nave basilica with one apse. It was built in two stages: during the first stage in the beginning of the XIII century the church was built as a one-nave basilica with a semi-cylindrical arch. During the second stage – the XIV century, the church was enlarged and reconstructed in a cross-dome, three-apse church with two altars. Three premises, one of which a belfry tower – very rare for the Orthodox church architectural style, were discovered near the south wall of the church.
Once the Patriarchal church was richly decorated from the outside and inside. During excavation work many decorative bowls, four-leaf colored rosettes and thousands of pieces of frescos were found.

The reconstruction of the Patriarchal church has been made on the basis of data gathered from archaeological surveys and information received from Renaissance historical documents (maps, miniatures) and of course after a public discussion over the models of the church which were made by experts.
The decorative and art modeling of the interior of the Patriarchal church were made by the artist Teofan Sokerov. Since the Patriarchal church is a complete reconstruction of the real temple it has not been frescoed in accordance with the strict church canon. The church is a temple-monument, in which the artist has presented the progress in the political and cultural development of the Renaissance Bulgarian State. He did his work with the means of the modern art – using massive figures and compositions.

The special lightening and vocalization of the Patriarchal church play an essential role for the emotional apprehension of the murals and the atmosphere of the temple as a whole. The artists Teofan Sokerov, Ivan Ivanov, Ivan Vassilev, Kolio Ionchev and Naiden Naidenov made the frescos of the church.
The Patriarchal church is one of the 800 monuments, which have witnessed the rebellion of Asenovtsi, the liberation of Bulgaria from Byzantine yoke and the revival of the Bulgarian State. It was opened for visitors in November 1985.

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