Bulgarian Archaeologists Dig Up Church at Obliterated Medieval Stronghold
A team of Bulgarian archaeologists also including British students has unearthed a 13th church at Cherven – a major medieval fortress during the Second Bulgarian Empire that was destroyed during the Ottoman conquest.
The church in question was built in the 13th century, in the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD). The ruins of the medieval stronghold of Cherven are located near the village of Cherven, 35 km south of the Danube city of Ruse.
According to the team of archaeologist Stoyan Yordanov from the Ruse History Museum, as cited by the Cross agency, it was first destroyed by an earthquake and was then rebuilt shortly after Bulgaria’s conquest by the Ottoman Turkish Empire ca. 1400.
However, the church function only for a few years, and its ruins were then covered with gravel. The archaeologists found a four-line inscription on one of its walls that is yet to be decoded.
The existence of the 13th church in the medieval stronghold of Cherven was first hypothesized in 2010 based on the excavations carried out last summer.
Its discovery comes 15 years after the last known Christian temple at Cherven was discovered.
The medieval town of Cherven used to be a key commercial and military hub between the 12th and the 14th centuries, a major center of the Bulgarian nobility, and the seat of a bishopric. It was conquered by the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1388 AD, and was later restored as an administrative center by the conquerors but subsequently was abandoned by its remaining inhabitants.
The first excavations at Cherven, which is located on the Rusenski Lom river, 35 km south of the Danube, were carried out in 1910-11 by renowned Bulgarian historian Vasil Zlatarski. The finds at Cherven have been crucial for the study of the life in Bulgaria during the Middle Ages.
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