Tsarevets Fortress PDF Print E-mail
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Tsarevets fortressTsarevets is a mediaeval stronghold located on a hill with the same name in Veliko Tarnovo (northern Bulgaria). It was settled in the 4th century and a Byzantine fortress was constructed near the end of the 5th century, on the grounds of which the construction of the Bulgarian stronghold was begun in 12th century. The fortress became the most important stronghold in Bulgaria, often compared with Rome and Constantinople in magnificence. It served as the Second Bulgarian Kingdom’s primary fortress and strongest bulwark from 1185 to 1393, housing the royal and the patriarchal palaces, and is a popular tourist attraction. In 1393, the fortress was besieged by Ottoman forces for three months before finally being conquered and burnt down on 17th July, which marked the fall of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The whole stronghold is girdled by thick walls (reaching up to 3,6 m) and was served by three gates. The main gate was at the hill's westernmost part, on a narrow rock massif, and featured a draw-bridge. The second gate is 18 m away from the first one and the third one, which existed until 1889, is 45 m further. The royal palace is located on the hill's central and plain part, which was a closed complex encircled by a fortified wall, 2 towers and 2 entrances, the main at north and the other at south. It featured a throne room, a palace church and a royal residential part and encompassed 4872 m2. On the top of the hill is the patriarchate, a complex with an area of about 3000 m2, whose church, built on the grounds of an Early Christian one, was reconstructed in 1981 and painted in 1985. The frescoes inside depict the glorious and tragic moments of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom During the Middle Ages, residential buildings, craftsman's workshops and numerous churches and monasteries were situated on the slopes of the Tsarevets hill. Archaeologists have discovered 400 residential buildings, differentiated in quarters, over 22 churches and 4 monasteries.


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