CONTACTS

Address:

Archaeological Museum
“Veliki Preslav”
P.O. Box 16, Veliki Preslav 9850
Bulgaria
tel.: ++359538 43243;

tel./fax: ++359 42630

Director: Plamen Slavov
Tel./Fax 0538 42630/ 0879480817
e-mail:

museum_preslav@abv.bg

Curator: Dimitar Dimitrov
e-mail:

arxeologa@abv.bg

Tour Guide: Neda Andreeva
e-mail: neda_andreeva@abv.bg

WINTER (November-March):
9:00 - 17:00
On holidays and weekends, visiting the treasury room is by prior arrangement only.

SUMMER (April-October):
9:00 - 18:00
The museum is open every day. On holidays and weekends it is open from 10:00-18:00.

You can make requests and orders by tel.: +(359)538/43243; 42630

 

 

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  1. RULER’S BASILICA

An incredible church was erected in one of the most impressing places in the Inner town. Its proximity to the palace complex via a 30 m.long and 1,50 m.wide street define it as the Ruler’s basilica and part of the incredible palace complex. Its imposing dimensions of 47.50 m.length and 21.10 m. width make it the second biggest church ever found on Bulgarian lands. People used to enter the church from the west in three- section outer narthex or exonarthex followed by the second narthex. The central room is divided in three naves and finally there is a vast and deep pre- altar space with three apses. It presumably dates back to the 9th century and relates to the construction of monumental church buildings after Christianization of medieval Bulgaria during the rule of Prince Boris I. Most probably the church did not have the outer narthex during this first construction period.  Traces of an additional entrance were found on the south of the narthex and probably there was also an entrance symmetrically on the south. The  narthex’s floor was covered with big marble plates. An outer narthex was added during the second construction period in the 10th century with almost square rooms from both north and south. Traces show that there was winding stairs for the second floor in the northern room.
We must note that the exonarthex stopped existing during the second half of the 11th  century. The construction is of limestone blocks especially whittled with the same size with length over one meter and the preserved fragments of marble and limestone architectural decoration- capitals, bases, liner plates, etc. The ruler’s church is of marked imposing nature proved by the flooring of marble plates and the colorful cubes making a opus- sectile style rope- moujding. These rope- moujdings form six parallel straps in the central nave and the space between them is covered by white marble plates. The ruler’s church most probably 20 m.high takes an important part in the town structure of the Second Bulgarian capital.

  1. THE PALACE COMPLEX

The two main buildings of the Palace architectural group take the most representative place in the Inner town of the Second Bulgarian capital. The frames of the complex are the Big palace also called the Throne chamber on the east and the Small palace also called residential one on the west. They are connected through a three section building. The Representative building on the south of the Small palace and the Ruler’s basilica on the east are also part of the complex. The town structure between the buildings is filled with squares, made of massive limestone plates. Parts of the water and sewage system are made underneath. There is a street leading to the central entrance on the north of the Throne chamber connecting it with the northern gate.
The main building in the architectural group  is the Throne chamber. The building erected during the capital period is rectangular planned, 35 m. long and 22 m. wide, directed towards north- south. The main building consists of a ground floor and an upper floor. The ground floor is divided in two parts- northern and southern. The northern one has an entrance hall divided in three rooms. This used to be the official entrance and stairs connected it with the main hall on the second floor. The southern part is divided by longitudinal walls of the main room, each flanged by four rectangular rooms. The middle longitudinal wall supports the floor of the main hall. The throne hall used to be rectangular planned divided in three by colonnades forming two side corridors. In view of the northern entrance most probably the ruler’s throne is situated on the south of the central place. The palace used to be 22 m. high. Remarkable samples of decorative stone plastics were found during the building’s research: bases, columns, capitals, cornices, etc.
The three- section monumantal building starts from the northwestern corner of the Big palace to the Small palace. Its façade appears to be continuation of the northern façade of the Throne palace. The building used to secure the covered bridge between the two main buildings.
The residential complex is situated in the westren and highest part of the Palace complex. The building is rectangular planned and north- south directed in its ground part. Its main part is constructed over remains of a building of the pre- capital period finishing with semicircular niche on the south. It is possible it used to be a residence of the commander of the military camp which used to be here. There used to be a massive stone wall around the early building. During one of the reconstructions in the northern part of the new façade an entrance with a door way on the north was made and there was stair case from there to the not so high floor in the entrance. This was the way to the main southern part of the building which was erected over the space of the earlier building filled with artificial mound. This part underwent several reconstructions during the capital period in which a narrow longitudinal corridor situated in the center and nine side rooms were formed.
The next big reconstruction of the complex was in the post- capital period during the 12th century and affected the Small palace where the corridor in its longitudinal axis is preserved. The character and designation of the complex are changed. The free squares and yards are overbuilt. The residential and manufacture parts of the quarter are formed. The necropolis is being developed. The blaze of the old capital steps aside to the everyday city medieval life.

  1. REPRESENTATIVE BUILDING

There is a built- up yard on the south of the Small palace in which there are two buildings. The formation of this south- western yard which is an inseparable part of the Palace complex because of its location happened no earlier than the end of the 9th- 10th century. The coin of the Byzantium emperor Leo the 6th (886-912) found in the construction level is a good chronologic marker about that.
Building 1 is situated in the northern part of the yard next to the southern façade of the Small palace. Its entire built up area is 252 sq.m. The building is a long chain building which is developed from west to east with length of 36 m. divided in seven rooms. The building’s length is seven meters from north to south. Its parts are divided by parallel dividing walls. The building’s chain plan is known from many other buildings in the early medieval architecture and in Preslav itself. It was possible to reach the yard and the building by horse which we can judge from the equipped slanting ramps.
There is no doubt the building used to be a temporary residential building. There are findings which relate to offering food and drinks on the table from its initial period i.e. from the time it was used for its main function and designation.
It is highly probable it used to be  one of the so called pavilion type buildings- a building in yards and cities related to the ruler’s palaces, for relaxation and contemplation or for welcoming guests.
Building 2 was erected in this yard simultaneously or almost simultaneously with the first one. It is situated 20 m on the north of the southern façade of building 1. It has the same orientation of its long axis. Namely its eastern part is erected over a platform hanging over and jutting out a platform on the south of the palaces. The terrain of building arrangement in the equipment prepared this way shows an idea of planning in advance in this part of the palace center. The bases form a rectangular planned building with longitudinal axis east- west. There is a big rectangular hall on the east and entrance on the west.  The 5 cm. thick plaster skim in the floor’s western part shows that it was probably covered with marble plates in opus sectile. 
This building has special functions of triclinia or pavilions for receptions in the palace complexes of the East and West. Obviously both buildings have the similar and adding functions which caused their closing in one and the same yard.
Most probably they are buildings of two types which in Constantinople palaces are called triclinium- a building with a huge hall for receptions of different nature. The formation of the complex of the south- western yard is not only a matter of forming the palace town’s center but also a necessity. The prince’s and king’s residential town needed buildings with different functions and this need was already proven in the Constantinople palace life. Bulgarian rulers also needed separately isolated halls and pavilions in the common system of the palace design and which used to be the role of both buildings on the south- western terrace and probably other yet unknown buildings.
In addition we have to mention that the northern wall of building 1 is on the foundation of the early Preslav military camp. The eventually constructed Aul is rectangular planned with sizes 103 X 147 m. directed east- west. It most probably appeared in the beginning of the 9th century and extended to south and east on a later stage it did not exist at the announcement of the new capital.

  1. ARCHBISHOP’S/ PATRIARCH’S PALACE 9TH- 10THE CENTURY 

A building with complex plan and monumental structure of stone blocks. The building is north- south oriented with its long axis and with sizes 22X 17 m. The ground floor is divided in three sections each divided in several rooms. The official entrance is on the north and it introduces to the central part of the building. The side parts consists of three rooms, the middle 11 m. long and the end rooms are smaller of almost square plan. Round brick columns for winding stairs are built in the western smaller rooms. The building is connected to the Palace church on the east by two lines of columns which bore a covered gallery. Cornice parts were found during the research which are part of the architectural decoration. The flooring is made of marble plates.

  1. PALACE CHURCH 9th- 10th century

The Palace church is located in the middle of a group of buildings forming the Preslav Archbishopric or also called Patriarch’s complex. It is part of a huge yard surrounded by a stone wall. The area taken by this yard has an irregular four- side plan prolonged towards east- west. The church is almost in the center of the fenced yard. According to the preserved foundations the sizes of the church are 31 m. length and 17 m. width. The palace church is a three-nave, three- apse basilica with a narthex and an exonarthex. The separation of the inner space is made by two lines of columns. A characteristic feature which underlines the strife to secure the building’s stability is the construction of flying buttresses’ (struts) system.  They are 18 four of which are on the western façade and seven on the northern façade and seven on southern façade. The church’s altar is made of three semicircular apses and pre- apse space. The central apse is the biggest one and projects to the east before the side ones. Fragments of mosaics which used to cover the church’s floor level was found in the northern nave and the exonarthex of the Palace basilica. The capitals, bases of columns, fragments of cornices and liner plates found are evidence of the church’s rich decoration. Several buildings are situated on the south and east of the basilica. Their foundations overlap because they were constructed and destroyed in different moments. In plan they are made by square or rectangular rooms in a line. Traces of colonnades are found before some of their façades. 

  1. A BATHROOM ON THE SOUTH OF THE PALACE CHURCH 9TH- 10TH CENTURY

The bathroom is preserved with  part of its original construction. It is built over the remains of an earlier bath. It has undergone several reconstructions in different periods. The heating installations are in the southern room. The bath is equipped with underfloor heating the so called hypocaust /a system of pipes through which hot air passes/. A small church is stuck to the church’s western façade which dates back to the 9th- 10th century. The church building is cross vaulted with semicircular apse and one- section narthex. Its length is 10.60 m. and width 5.40 m. A lot of fragments of plaster with wall paintings come from it. A building on the south of the  bathroom is functionally connected to the small church. It is of rectangular plan with sizes 8.00 X 6.50 m. directed east- west. It consists of two rooms of different length.

  1. WATER SUPPLY AND SEWAGE SYSTEM

The entire area under the stone flooring of the squares in the Inner town is cut by numerous water pipes made of clay pipes with or without plaster bed. Lead pipes were also found in some places narrower in diameter than the ceramic ones. They used to supply the buildings using the gravity principle following the terrain’s slope with clear water from the main water pipe. Masoned canals were found within the Inner town which used to collect waste and atmosphere waters in the central /big/ canal. The big canal is made and covered by big limestone plates. The canal is 0.5 m. wide and 0.8 m. high. It is made with a passage big enough to secure the drainage to south- east of a considerable quantity of water.

  1. ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING

The administrative building is situated on the most eastern low terrace whose  supporting wall separates it on the west from the Patriarch’s complex. The building is constructed as a pagan proto- Bulgarian chapel probably in the beginning of the 9th century. It consists of two entered quadrangles with outer sizes 18 X 14  m. As a result unsegmented corridors have been formed around the inner quadrangle  from three sides. The northern corridor is wider than the southern.
After Bulgaria’s Christianization it was not ruined like many shrines but reconstructed and used as a representative secular building. The southern corridor is formed as three section entrance. During the capital period its inner space was renewed which is evident by the parts of decoration and transparent glass found. The fragments of bases, columns and capitals found prove the existence of colonnades. In view of the proximity to the Eastern gate of the Inner town as well it is possible that this was namely the place where guests were welcomed for the first time while waiting to meet the ruler. Like the Palaces the spaces around the building here are formed through pavements covering the pavement ways of three water pipes and two canals.
During the Byzantium rule the region around the building is densely built up in accordance with the needs of the Byzantine administration. The pavements around the building are preserved. It is possible that some of the water pipes and canals continued to be used. A two section building was adjoining on the east directed to east- west. The pavement preserved on the north leading to the Building with furnaces show that probably there used to be an entrance on the north during that period. The building becomes a strategy for the town’s Byzantine administration. The biggest collection of Byzantine lead seals was found here in situ /on site/- more than 500 pieces, covering the period from Preslav’s falling in 971 to 1088. Lead kernels and moulds for their casting were also found. That is why the building was named Administrative.

  1. BUILDING WITH FURNACES

In the 1990s a new building was found which was made of four rooms. The building’s walls are constructed by slab stones and blocks soldered with clay. The depth of the foundation is 0,5 m. and the building’s outer sizes are: 10,80 m.(north- south) and 3,25 m.(east- west).
The inner space is divided in two rooms- northern and southern covered by bricks. the building is constructed over equipment destroyed in the past. Another two- chamber masoned stove was also found deeply under the floor’s level. The building dates back to the end of the 10th- the beginning of the 11th century because lead seals from that period were found in one of the rooms. One of the hypotheses regarding the building’s designation is that it was used as a building with manufacture furnaces most probably for metal melting which shows its connection with the Administrative building as well.

  1. ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX IN THE SOUTH- WESTERN PART OF THE PALACE CENTER IN VELIKI PRESLAV

A sophisticated architectural complex was developing in the south- eastern part of the Inner town whose construction began in the end of the 9th- 10th century. Including several buildings with different purposes it is a proof for the high level of architectural concept and town planning of medieval Preslav.
The small bathroom. Found in 1971 as an isolated building today the small bathroom is a part of this palace group. In plan it is of suite type with three rooms separated by brick partition walls i.e. there was a  passage from one room to another. The ground floor which is dug into the surrounding terrain includes a fireplace in the eastern section and hypocaust of clay pipes which pass into the other two rooms. Hot air circulates through these pipes coming out of prefurnium with vaulted holes. The floor level of the real bathroom is erected on 0,60 m. higher and is on the hypocaust pipes. There are hot water boilers in the eastern room, the second (middle) one is designated for a changing room and the western one is the real bath (bathroom) with a bathtub in it. Hot water reached this room through inner installation of lead pipes and the building’s entire supply was organized by a water pipe consisting of clay tubes, passing in parallel to the outer northern wall.
The small bathroom in the Palace center of medieval Preslav is a classically planned scheme adopted in the proto- Bulgarian bath construction in the end of the 9th and 10th century. It proves that high level of development of the Preslav civilization and culture.

  1. BUILDING WITH PORTICO

The complex spreads immediately on the west of the Small bathroom by a building with complicated design oriented east- west. There are three big rooms in the ground floor in a line. The total length is 22,60 m. and the rooms are connected by 0,70 m. wide passages. There is a portico 2,80 m. away from the northern façade built on massive stone square pilasters. They raise as square pillars 1,30 m. wide in height with sizes 0,80  X 0,80 m. over which there is a wide verandah before the upper floor. There is a room added in the western end of the building (3,20 X 1,80 m) whose northern wall is in a pilaster row axis. There is a pathway made of four big plates assembled in front of the second room of the main building which leads to the water installation of the royal office.
Royal office- there is a rectangular building constructed 1,80 m. on the north of the portico with sizes 12,70 X 15,30 m. oriented north- south.  The ground floor inner space is divided by two pairs of walls with a total of 9 rooms divided in three rows. The western and the eastern rows are 2 m. wide, the central one- 4,70 m. wide. The central building dominates in the building’s entire plan which is also divided by cross walls of three rooms- the southern one with sizes 2 X 4,70 m. and a middle and a northern one which are bigger- with sizes 5 X 4,70 m. There are three massive steps- plasters made in the middle of the central northern room which form a passage as a two section portal.
In 2010 the discovery of a massive building began on the west which actually represents the entire complex’s main body- the royal family’s residential palace. The part of this building that was found includes a central hall on the axis east- west covered by marble plates and flanked /so far/ by three pairs of rooms on the south and north. The building’s size, the richness of the architectural details and floor mosaics define it as the personal, residential parts of Preslav’s ruling family.

  1. SQUARE WITH PHIALE

In the 10th century several chain buildings form the square in the northern part of the Inner town. The square used to play an important part in the capital’s entire town structure. The phiale takes the central place in the square- it means a shallow cup in Greek. A unique water installation called phiale is constructed 23 m. away from the gate’s eastern half. Its structure shows the high achievements of the proto- Bulgarian architecture, aesthetics and town structure concept. The phiale is a round decorative swimming pool from outside. The swimming pool’s inner part is a regular eight- axis with length of the separate sides 1,10 m. This form was achieved by coating with red bricks placed in ten horizontal rows and the joints are coated with water- proof red plaster. The building is made of big limestone blocks placed in horizontal rows on the inner side. Slightly trapezium- shaped they form the outer round profile of the phiale with a diameter of 5,80 m. put one next to another and plastered with white plaster. The swimming pool’s surface is coated with polished marble plates on the top of which there was a colonnade of marble posts bearing the semispherical ciborium roof. The water supply was organized by separate canals made of clay and lead pipes. A sewage canal  is placed on the southern wall which starts with a ceramic tube with a diameter of 0,12 cm. There is another canal in the construction’s upper end with clay pipes in the beginning and lead ones in the inner part.
There was a small cross vaulted church with an inscribed cross, three apses and a narthex right on the west during the same period. Its length is 13 m. and its width- 7 m. The first graves of the Christian necropolis used to be scattered around the church in the 11th century which was very often used in the 12th- 13th century. The southern way of the Preslav’s aul extension was found in less than a meter north of the church.

  1. CIVIL BUILDING WITH SOCIAL- ADMINISTRATIVE AND REPRESENTATIVE CHARACTER

There are two buildings situated on the west of the southern gate of the fortress wall inner side. They are divided by a 5 m. wide passage, there is a similar 2, 5 m. wide passage left between the fortress wall and the buildings’ back. The building right next to the Southern gate consists of eleven rectangular rooms with almost the same construction and sizes. The average sizes of the rooms vary about 5.00 X 4.50 m. People entered through 1.00 m. wide entrances located on the northern sides of the rooms. The building is made by slaty quarry sandstones situated in  horizontal rows soldered with yellow clay. The distribution and longitudinal walls which are constructively connected with each other. River oval stones and rough quarry stones are used for their construction. The floor levels of the rooms found are equal to those on the terrain in front of the building which caused the construction of stairs. It is impressive that the rooms lack floorings, the floor levels of each one of them are made of well rammed yellow clay. The foundations dug deeply to solid terrain show that the rooms found are the lower floor of a big two- storey building. Probably the lower floor used to serve warehouse and service purposes. It is possible that the lower rooms have been inhabited, too. The second floor on the north was probably formed with a wooden veranda jutting out of the foundations with colonnades. The access to the second floor was probably by a stair case inside or outside the building.
The second building is situated on the west of the first one. Its inner part is divided in ten rooms not equal in size arranged in two parallel lines. The building is made of slab stone on muddy solder. The rooms’ sizes are different and vary about 4.00 X 3.50 m. The building’s deeply dug foundations show that this building also had a second floor like the first one. It is possible its plan was a little bit different from the ground floor. Probably people climbed the second floor using an inner wooden stair case leading to a large hall. The walls of both buildings were plastered from both outside and inside with fine plaster, probably the walls were covered with marble or any other coating material.
The buildings’ roofs were covered by tiles. There was a spacy not built yard on the north of the buildings. The buildings were destroyed in the end of the 10th century and lighter land buildings were constructed over them in the following years. The buildings’ massive structure, the functional connection, the big built up area make them civil buildings of social and administrative nature. It is also possible they were inhabited by the soldiers who took care of the ruler’s protection. 

  1. INNER FORTRESS WALL 9TH- 10TH CENTURY

The inner town is situated on a high terrace in the foot of the Zabuite hill. It is spread on a territory of a quarter of a square kilometer approximately in the middle of the Military fortification. It has an irregular Г- form plan in view of the extension on the north and the so called turn that was formed in the north. The southern, eastern and northern way of the wall were found at this stage of research. The foundation is 3.20 m.wide. They were 10 m.high, made of large limestone squares where in the extension on the north the wall’s inner part was made of  quarry rocks soldered with white plaster. The wall was 2.80 m. thick. Rectangular towers the so called bastions were also built on the northern and eastern wall of the extension for better defense. The most well preserved up to 10 m. sections of the fortress walls are also here. The length of the southern fortress wall is 148 m., of the eastern wall- 701 m. and of the northern wall- 558 m.
The round towers connected the fortification’s corners. They are with an outer diameter of 9 m. Three gates were found, southern, eastern and northern one respectively raising at 15 m.height. The three gates have a similar plan- two paralleling pairs, almost square rooms, making the passage. In the height of the passage there is an over gate overarching tower that unites them. There is a winding stairs in one of the rooms and in the southern one it is from the east. The entrance was closed by a double wooden door and a metal one dropping on grains the so called cataract whose dropping mechanism was on the third floor. The northern gate also called iron or main one was an exception because it was supplied with an additional second cataract. the massive wooden door was inside the gate and respectively opened inwards. The wall ended with pinnacles forming loop- holes. The fortress’ s defenders used to fire on the enemy’ s soldiers from the vault’s shafts.

  1. COMMERCIALS ROOMS

The foundations of a big building are preserved on the west of the southern gate of the Inner town outside the fortress wall. The building is about 107 m. long and consists of 18 identical rooms, constructively connected, without passages between them, directed to south. The walls are made of slab stone from Preslav’ s region in horizontal rows and clay. The rooms’ partition wall used to touch directly the fortress wall on the north which was also used as the building’s northern wall. The terrain’s natural slope necessitated making steps of the terraces in front of the rooms. There used to be a platform with a curve in front of the steps. The rooms are almost square shaped and with similar sizes 5 х 4.60 m. The entrance of every room is in the middle of its southern wall and is between 1.10- 1.15 m. wide. Probably there was a floor over them and there used to be a shelter in front of them, the building’ s roof was covered by tiles. The building’s place and plan, the signs on the roof tiles as well as the rich ceramic material, many of the liquid containers define it as a state building of economic character. Probably they used to be  shops that traded with local and imported goods. The building is deliberately destroyed in the first half of the 11th century because of the town’s defense.

  1. PAGAN TEMPLE IN THE OUTER TOWN

The remains of a small church built over the ruins of a pagan temple are in the Inner city of Preslav, about 100 m. on the south of the Southern gate. The temple consists of two rectangles included in each other with sizes 13,50 х 12,20 m. The walls were 1.20 m. thick made of mountain stone soldered with plaster. It was directed to east. The re- construction of the pagan temple into a Christian church happened in the end of the 9th, the beginning of the 10th century. The wall on the east was destroyed to make an apse. The thickness of the walls is not identical due to the uneven terrain, the inner part is very deep. The apse was hexagonal from outside. The inner space of the pagan temple is divided by a transverse wall in two parts making the nave and the narthex. Four wide flying buttresses were added on the initial building’s four corners which seized the corners like brackets and used to support the walls. Probably so that the building could bear the vault’s weight. There were three symmetrical arches on the church’s western façade. Two inbuilt pillars are imbedded between the west parts of the flying buttresses made with the buttresses themselves. They define the places of the three arches, the middle one being wider and probably higher than the side ones.

  1. ROTUNDA

The rotunda, also called Golden or Simeon’s church shows the highest achievements of the proto- Bulgarian’s monumental art. The object’s research started in 1927 and continued several years until its complete discovery. Simeon’s cousin’s Tudor Doksov’s note says that the church was built in the first years of the tenth century. The church is situated  about 200 m. on the south of the southern port of the Inner town. Builders made an artificial embankment over which the church was built. The Golden church has central plan. The round nave (the central room) has a diameter of 10,50 m. and is divided by twelve semicircular niches in three of which the entrances are on the western wall and the twelfth one on the east has formed the altar apse. There were twelve white marble columns before the front sides of the niches 0,60 m. away from them which used to support the circular gallery and a line of columns for bearing the roof. There are remains of a pulpit (a lifted platform where the priest preaches) in the middle of the central room (the nave). A rectangular narthex was built next to the nave in which four symmetrically located columns used to support the upper floor from which people passed in the nave’s gallery. There are two cylindrical towers in the narthex’s two corners; there are remains of a winding stairs leading to the second floor in the northern part. The narthex has two rooms from north and south with two outer rooms and almost square atrium (a yard) on the west. There was a marble baptistery on the eastern wall of the round room. The atrium’s walls as well as the ones of the nave were separated by niches in front of which there was a colonnade. There is a well in the center of the yard for mass purposes.
Three inscription were inscribed on the narthex’s southern wall during the church’ s construction. One of them says in Cyrillic alphabet that the church’s construction was under the guidance of Chartophylax Pavel (an ecclesiastical officer in charge of official documents). The other two are inscribed in Glagolitic alphabet. A few funerals were performed around the church and inside.
The Rotunda is not only unique with its original architecture and plan structure but also because of its rich decoration combining marble carving, painted ceramics and glass mosaics. There are Hellenistic samples, birds’ images and hunting scenes in the sculpture decoration.
A monastery complex was found on the south of the Rotunda made later than the church. The chain building found a few meters on the south of the church is directed west- east and related to the monks’ residential needs. The scriptoriums (a room used for copying manuscripts) and workshops for painted ceramics found, one of which on the east under the Rotunda itself, were centers not only of religious and educational and literary life but also one of the places for making the Preslav white clay ceramics.

  1. CHURCHES AT THE ‘CHUPKATA’

Two churches built one after another were found just in front of the Inner town’s fortress wall in the widening section.
The lower church is cross vaulted with four columns for the vault and pre- apse space. It consists of a three- section narthex and a central place (nave) with three apses with total length of 29 m. and width of 20 m. There are wings stuck to the front part on the north and on the east. There is a synthrone (a stone step- shaped bench for the clergy situated along the wall of the main apse) which shows that the church used to be a bishop’s church. It dates back before the 9th century, till the beginning of the 10th century when a second smaller church was erected over its ruins. The second church repeats the plan of the earlier one, the only difference being the one- section narthex. Both churches had rich decoration with decorative stone plastics.

  1. STONE PICTURE GALLERY

The medieval paintings and inscriptions over stone, ceramics, plaster, bones, metal, etc. are called graphites due to the specific performance technique- images are scribbled over the soft limestone with a sharp object (a knife, a chisel, an awl, etc.). Graphites were found in many objects in Preslav which date back to the town’s capital period: the Rotunda, the complex in the Under the Zabuite site, the civil complexes in Selishte site, the commercial rooms etc. The graphites are laid on the inner surface of the fortress wall mostly on the second, third and fourth row of the construction, 2.00 m. high. They were found during the research of Prof.Dimitar Ovcharov in 1971. They became part of the fortress wall’s extension on the north. They cover an area of 150 m.
They date back generally from the end of the 9th century to the beginning of the 10th century- the period of construction of this part of the building till the town’s falling under Byzantine rule in 971. Depending on the subject covered Prof.Ovcharov divides the paintings in four main groups: images of animals, images of people, symbolic signs and pictures and figured compositions. The latter are united in several groups: military, hunting, erotic and ritual scenes.
Probably they were made by the soldiers who guarded the old capital. The witch- doctor cult was widespread. The anthropomorphous image of a witch doctor and an animal figure can be seen in the most well preserved section of the fortress wall. There is an erotic feeling even in the military and hunting scenes full of bulls, deers, eagles and horses. There are many crosses in the symbols showing that signs also have a religious and magical meaning. The inscription ‘Yan the sinful wrote in prison standing’ makes historians think there were also prisons for the guilty soldiers around the fortress wall.

  1. ST.ST.CYRIL AND METHODIUS CATHEDRAL

The construction of St.St.Cyril and Methodius Cathedral in Old Preslav relates to the 1000 year anniversary of the St.Methodius’s death in 885, Bulgarians’ conversion to Christianity in 864 and consequently the 1000 year anniversary of Simeon the Great’s rule. The Fourth national assembly in 1884 resolved to construct the cathedral in order to realize the idea. The construction began in end of 1897 but was not completed until 1918. The final works finished in 1926 and in the following 1927, the 1000 year anniversary of Simeon the Great’s rule, the temple was consecrated by Varna and Veliki Preslav’s bishop Simeon. The church is located in the northern part of the old capital’s Inner town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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