Madara Rider was discovered for science in 1872. A relief of a horseman, with several inscriptions around, is carved on the cliffs. It is the only stone relief of this kind in Europe. It is carved 23 m from the cliff base. The relief represents an actual-size horseman. The upper part is surrounded by a gouge in order to be separated from the cliff surface. In his right hand, the horseman holds the bridles of the horse, and his left hand, raised upwards, he holds a glass or drinking horn. The horseman is presented in a victorious position. Lion, squatted in a front of him, is stabbed by a spear. This is a triumphant scene, indisputably praising the head state. According to recent researches, the Madara Rider represents a triumphant image of the Bulgarian Khan Tervel (701-721), implied by the inscriptions around it. They are carved in Greek letters in Greek language. The first upper inscription dates back from Tervel’s time, the left lower one – from Kormisosh’s time, and the right lower one dates back from Omurtag’s time. The first inscription dates back from 705. Then the perspicacious Khan Tervel helped the Byzantine emperor Justinian to regain the throne. The Madara inscriptions are the oldest Bulgarian official documents. The Madara Rider is one of the masterpieces of the medieval Bulgarian art. It has been includet in UNESCO Word Heritage List since 1979.
Fortress has an excellent strategic position. Its shape is irregular and conforms to the features of the area itself. The walls are built on massive cut blocks. The Great Gate is located in the center of the northern wall, protected by two pentagonal towers. The masonry walls are preserved at a height of up to 2 m. Foundation of barracks and a small church are found inside the fortress. Matora Fortress was mentioned in 1388 when it was conquered by the Turks. It played an important role for protecting the former Bulgarian capitals Pliska and Preslav, as well as the passages in Medieval Bulgaria.
Photography: Nikolay Dimitrov