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Hotels in Veliko Tarnovo

St. Dimitar Church

The church of “St. Dimitar” in Veliko Turnovo is situated at the northeastern foot of Trapezitsa elevation on the right bank of Yantra River. It is the oldest Medieval church in Turnovo. It is related to the earliest manifestations of the Bulgarian rulers of the 12 th century. In 1185, when church was built the brothers Assen and Peter proclaimed the Uprising against the Byzantine invaders. It was a royal church up to the year 1230. The Bulgarian rulers Assen, Peter and Kaloyan were crowned in it. Here on 07.11.1204 Archbishop Vasilli was promoted to the rank of Patriarch of the Bulgarian church. Later at the end of XVII th and the beginning of the XVIII th century a monastery was built. The 4 big buildings found during the archeological excavations in 1971 belonged to it. They are situated to the east, west and south.

The monastery and the church existed till the third quarter of the XIII th century. They were devastated by an earthquake. In XV th century to the south of the old church was erected a new one, over the foundations of the southern monastery building. During the second half of the XV th century there was built a Christian necropolis. It existed till the beginning of the XX th century. Over 500 burials, kept in a special ossuary in the northern part of the yard, have been explored there.
At the end of the XVIII th c. and the beginning of the XIX th c. the church of “St. Dimitar” was sacked by kardjalii. During the second half of the XIX th century it is seriously damaged and the earthquake in 1913 destroyed it completely. Only its apse with fragments of the original frescoes survived.
The scientific and the archeological studies of the church started in 1971. They reveal the plan of the church, the periods of building, and its rich outdoor decoration.

It is a cross basilica with men’s department, women’s department, and an altar. Its apse is pentahedral. The outdoor decoration is made of stone, plaster and bricks. The built in ornaments, painted in different colors make it more beautiful. Inside the church has once been decorated with frescoes, but nowadays only the 2 artistic layers in the altar are preserved.
Many materials, found during the excavations, prove that the church of “St. Dimitar” and the monastery near it have played a significant role in the spiritual and educational life in the old capital Tarnovgrad. The restored temple started functioning as a museum in 1985 in honor of the 800th anniversary from the proclamation of Tarnovo as the capital of Bulgaria and the uprising against the Byzantine invaders.

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