Medieval Church Ruins Found Near Bulgaria's Tzarevetz Fortress

Society | July 8, 2007, Sunday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Medieval Church Ruins Found Near Bulgaria's Tzarevetz Fortress The St. 40 Martyrs church on the Tzarevetz hilltop is a popular tourist location. File photo by Sofia Photo Agency.

Bulgarian archaeologists found the remains of a medieval church, later turned into a bath, in the vicinity of the Tzarevetz fortress, the seat of Bulgarian rulers in the Middle Ages.

The find is unique among the hundreds of Bulgarian medieval churches studied so far, said Konstantin Totev, the head of the local branch of the Archaeology Institute with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who is in charge of the dig.

Although the foundations of the church were first discovered in 1992, excavations were soon frozen due to the renovation of the nearby St. 40 Martyrs church, itself one of the oldest and most historically important places of worship in Bulgaria.

But this summer the archaeologists began the study of the necropolis to the south of the St. 40 Martyrs and were surprised to find the foundations of the other church just 80 meters to the south, on the bank of the Yantra river.

Archaeologists say the church was razed down sometime in the 13th or 14th century, when Veliko Tarnovo lost its capital status.

In its place, a public bath was constructed, with a large stone pool and ceramic pipes built into the walls, linking it to a separate heating room.

Continued excavation is difficult because part of the church is under the modern road that leads up to the Tzarevetz fortress, but the archaeologists plan to restore as much of the ruins as possible.
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