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A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Medieval Church Uncovered in Northern Bulgaria

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SOFIA, BULGARIA—Archaeology in Bulgaria reports that a thirteenth-century Christian church and cemetery have been uncovered in the Trapesitsa Fortress in Tarnovgrad, the medieval capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The church is the twenty-third to have been discovered in the fortress. It measured about 12 feet wide and 30 feet long, and was affixed to the inside of the fortress wall, next to a fortress tower or bastion that is still under excavation. Fragments of murals depicting three human figures wearing halos have been recovered, including one of Jesus Christ the Pantocrator—a specific image in Christian iconography. “The frescoes are very beautiful,” said Konstantin Totev of the Veliko Tarnovo Office of the National Institute and Museum. “In terms of quality and artistic value, they surpass those found in churches No. 13 and 2, which have been deemed the most beautiful in the Trapesitsa Fortress so far.” Totev thinks the building may have served as a parish church for merchants and craftsmen who lived nearby. To read about another recent find in Bulgaria dating to medieval times, go to “Iconic Discovery.”

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