Arcodica Port


The history of The Holy Forty Martyrs church is closely related to the history of Veliko Tarnovo. The earliest traces of human settlements in the area date back to 4th Millennium BC. Human activity continued during the Antiquity ( 6th-1th c. BC) and the early Byzantine period ( late 5th early 6th C.). In the 7th century the region was annexed to the territory of Bulgaria founded by Khan Asparukh. During the reign of Khan Omurtag (814-831) a Bulgarian garrison was dispatched here to defend a newly-erected fortress. The riverside was protected by a massive stone wall with 12 towers. In 864 Christianity was proclaimed as the official religion of Bulgaria. The governor of the fortress allegedly built a church-apredecessor of The Holy Forty Martyrs.
At the end of 12th C. a monastery complex was built around the church. It was called The Holy Forty Martyrs – The Great Laurel (Royal Monastery). It was the most important monastery in the vicinity during the Second Bulgarian Tsardom. The present looks of the church resembles greatly to the one built by Tsar Ivan Asenli in 1230. He reconstructed and renovated it naming it after the Holy Forty Martyrs to commemorate the great victory over the army of Epirus Despot Theodore Komnenus on the 22th of March 1230 near the village of Klokotnitsa. Tsar Ivan Asen Il ordered the story of the victory to be inscribed on a marble column and placed within the church alongside 2 other columns with inscriptions by Khan Krum (801-814) and Khan Omurtag (814-831). In 1230 the church was built as 3-boat basilica with narthex, 3 apses and a crypt facing westwards. The church was 24 meters long and 7.30 meters wide, its altar was made of marble and the walls were covered with mural paintings.
In the early 13th century the church and the surrounding area were being used as a burial ground for members of the Asen royal house. The Bulgarian Tsar Kaloyart (1197-1207) who perished during the siege of Thessalonika was buried here. The tomb of the Serbian Saint Sava who died in Tarnovo in 1236 was located here. The fall of the city under the reign of the Ottoman Turks brought the monastery to a decline. The church was used by the Christians in the quarter until the 16th C. when it was transformed into a muslim mosque. The temple was restored as a Christian church after the Liberation from the Ottoman Yoke in 1878. The deputies of the Constituent National Assembly gave their oaths in the church in 1879 thus laying the foundation of the Third Bulgarian Tsardom. Furthermore, on the 22th of September the Independence of Bulgaria was proclaimed in this church (until then Bulgaria was an independent Principality owing nominal suzerainty to the Turks and paying annual tribute to the sultan) and Tsar Ferdinand was inaugurated. During the 20th C. liturgies were held until 1964 when the church was declared a historical monument with national significance. It was reconstructed in 2004 according to the project of architect Theophil Teophilov. The Consecration service was held on the 14th of September 2006 by Archbishop Gregory from Tarnovo. On the 15th of September 2006 the church was affiliated to the National Museum of History.

50% LikesVS
50% Dislikes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *