Nessebur (the Old town) PDF Print E-mail
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Nessebar Old TownThe old part of the town, built on the picturesque Nessebur Peninsula, has been declared Old Nessebur architectural, historical and archaeological reserve and was included in the List of the world heritage under UNESCO protection in 1983. At the very start of the peninsula, what draws the attention is the town gate with remains of fortifications (4th-6th century), built on top of older foundations (5th-4th century B.C.). Impressive traces of Old Greek, Early Byzantine or medieval fortress walls can be seen all over the Peninsula. At the entry to the old Nessebur is the Archaeological Museum, presenting the eventful history of the town. Kind of an emblem of the town are the churches of Nessebur, some of the remarkable church architectural monuments that have survived to date. According to legend, during the Middle Ages there had been about 40 churches built on this small piece of a peninsula. + There is an artistic MAP with the landmarks in the Old Nessebur The old Bishopric (St Sophia) is dated to the 5th-6th centuries and is an impressive three-nave basilica. Traces can be seen of magnificent columns, arches and floor mosaics from different periods of the existence of the church. The Church of John the Baptist is referred to the 10th-11th centuries and, in terms of architecture, it is a transition between a basilica and a central cross-domed church. The traces of murals are dated to the 14th century. Of special interest is the faded depiction of the two donors of the church – father and son - that have survived from that time. The new bishopric (of St Stephan) is probably from the 10th-11th century. It is one of the few churches in Nessebur with well-preserved mural paintings, reflecting the realistic trend in medieval Bulgarian painting from the 16th-17th century. The interior includes a great number of ancient and medieval columns, capitals, slabs and inscriptions. The pulpit and the bishop’s throne are authentic samples of woodcarving from the 18th-19th century. The external decoration is also noteworthy with the characteristic little clay green and red cups. Just the north and the west side have survived from the original appearance of the church of St Theodore (18th century). Noteworthy is the original stone floor. The iconostasis is from the 17th century. The Church of St Yoan Apitourgitos [St John the Unenlightened] from the 13th-14th century is considered to be one of the most beautiful. In it the specific picturesque style of the churches in Nessebur reached its culmination. The Church of the Pantocrator from the 13th-14th century belongs to the four-column cross-domed churches and is one of the best-preserved medieval churches in Bulgaria. It has varied layout and decoration of the facades, whereby the multicoloured ceramic ornaments, crowning the various architectural shapes, are particularly beautiful. During excavations, strata from all periods of development of the town have been unearthed in front of the church: from the time of the Thracians to date. The Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel (13th-14th century) had been extraordinarily beautiful, which is evident to this day. The workmanship of the external walls is notable, elaborately decorated with ornaments produced by the combination of stone, bricks and multicoloured clay rosettes. Similar is also the case with the nearby Church of St Paraskeva (13th-14th century). The Church of the Saviour is of a later date. In its present-day appearance it dates to 1609. It houses extremely well-preserved mural paintings from the 18th century, the work of a local mural painter. Recently, during excavations in direct proximity to the church, the remains of big Roman baths have been unearthed. The houses of Nessebur, whose fairy-tale silhouettes stand out against the backdrop of the blue sea, are also interesting as models of the Black Sea coast housing architecture from the National Revival Period. Their shapes feature a light upper wooden floor, contrasting to the stone-built ground floor. The typical roofed verandas draw the attention by their varied shapes and multiple indentations, standing out particularly in the housing compounds. Among the better known houses are: the house of Mouskoyani (1840) with an ethnographic exhibition, displaying folk wear from the region of Bourgas; the house of Captain Paul, the Chimboulev, Lambrinov, and Toulev house, the houseof Diamandi (1850), of Hadzhi Tranosh (1850), with scissors, inbuilt on the stone slab, as an emblem of his craft. The water mills lend a special atmosphere and a romantic flavour to the landscape of Nessebur.


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