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Tsarevets Hill

Veliko Tarnovo, Veliko Tarnovo & the Balkan range

The Tsarevets Hill was the main fortress of the medieval Bulgarian capital Veliko Tarnovo. During the period (1185 – 1395) of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom Bulgaria was the largest and the most powerful state in Southeastern Europe. The hill itself was inhabited as early as the 2nd millennium B.C. The ancient settlement existed even during the Iron Age, but was abandoned in the first centuries of the Roman rule. In the 4th century it was populated again, and at the end of the 5th century it had already became a strongly fortified early Byzantine town. The medieval fortress had been raised during the 12th century on top of the foundations of the early Byzantine one.

Today it is thoroughly studied and partially restored. The reservation site lends an impressive aspect with the ancient unassailable fortification system, consisting of strong stonewalls, stupendous gates, towers and embrasures, as well as with its residential and ecclesiastical architecture. The three enormous gates of the Central entrance, situated on a narrow rocky isthmus, lead to the fortress itself. Those three gates were the only way to come in Tsarevets. The main entrance was at the west side of the hill. It was built on a rock, and was cut off because in that way it become protect equipment. The second gate is at a distance of 18 m after the first one. And the third gate of the main entrance erased at 45 m. after the second one, and it existed till 1889.

There was a draw bridge at the first of them. The central part - the flattest level of the hill was the place of the fortified King's Palace. It was surrounded by an inner stonewall, behind which there were also the Throne Hall, the Royal Church, and the royal chambers.
And above all these the complex of the Patriarch's Palace was raising its walls high towards the sky. It was restored in 1981 in honour of 1300 years from the creation Bulgaria and it was painted in 1985 in honour of 800 years from the liberation of Vizantia. The interior of the Patriarch's Church has been decorated with modern wall painting, representing miscellaneous moments of the history and culture of Medieval Bulgaria.

In those years, well back in time, the slopes of the hill were studded with residential districts and craftsmen's quarters, numerous churches and monasteries. More than 400 residential buildings and 18 medieval churches have been found by archaeologists on the hill of Tsarevets.
Nowadays there is a show which recreate the history. The "Sound and Light " audio-visual show is an unique attraction in Europe. There are less than three similar spectacles all over the World. A dramatic music and flashing lights, lasers, heavy church bells combined together tell the glorious and tragic story of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1185 – 1393).

Photogallery


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