Tsarevets: a photo essay

Tsarevets fortress was a medieval stronghold of the erstwhile Second Bulgarian Empire located near the city of Veliko Tarnovo (which was also the capital city of that empire). While the fortress is in ruins, the recent reconstructions and restorations make it worth visiting.

View of the fortress from the city.

View of the fortress from the city.

The fortress itself is situated on top of a hill of the same name. The stronghold consisted of two forts, one on each hill. You can see the ruins of the second fort on the hill in the left hand side of the photograph above. The second fort is not reconstructed well enough to attract tourists.

Let’s step inside.

Entry

You enter the fort complex from the city on a ridge

You enter the fort complex from the city on a ridge

The ridge separating the fortress and the city is more apparent when viewing the city from inside the fort.

Notice the ridge that connects Veliko Tarnovo city to the fortress

Notice the ridge that connects Veliko Tarnovo city to the fortress.

From the Tsarevets fortress, you can see parts of the reconstructions of the second fortress (Trapezitsa) on the neighboring hill.

Reconstructed watch tower of Trapezitsa as seen from Tsarevets.

Reconstructed watch tower on Trapezitsa as seen from Tsarevets.

Ruins

The ruins in the fortress have been well preserved, for the most part.

Well preserved ruins

Well preserved ruins.

Most of these ruins were civilian buildings. After all this was the capital city.

Most of these ruins were civilian buildings. After all this was part of the capital city.

Reconstructions

Also, there are a lot of reconstructions, especially along the outer wall of the fortress.

This is a reconstructed small chamber attached to outer wall.

This is a reconstructed small chamber attached to outer wall.

Only the outer wall is reconstructed. The inner buildings' ruins remain as just plans on the ground.

Only the outer wall is reconstructed. The inner buildings’ ruins remain as just plans on the ground.

Part of the outer wall is reconstructed. Notice the reconstructed turret.

Part of the outer wall is reconstructed. Notice the reconstructed turret.

The outer wall reconstruction is impressive. Notice the reconstructed watch tower

The outer wall reconstruction is impressive. Notice the reconstructed watch tower and a reconstructed turret.

Church

At the top of the fortress is a reconstruction of the church that once stood there. The church is called the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God. It was built in the place of an early Christian church.

The reconstructed church. While the outside looks simple, the inside is simply beautiful.

The reconstructed church.
While the outside looks simple, the inside is simply beautiful.

When you step inside the church, you realize that this is really not a reconstruction, but in fact, a complete reimagining of an early christian church with a modernist abstract expression.

For instance, consider this painting of Christ at the altar.

Christ and Mary at the altar of the church. The style is very modernist.

Christ and Mary at the altar of the church. The style is very modernist.

The murals along the walls and ceilings are absolutely stunning. Take a look.

The city seems to have taken this style in pretty well. You can see murals in a similar style all over the city. Here is an example.

Modernist mural in Veliko Tarnovo

Modernist mural in Veliko Tarnovo

In all, it was a very interesting visit, and worth your time, if you are a history buff.

Oh, and two notable missing images are that of Baldwin’s tower and the palace ruins. Unfortunately, I just forgot to photograph them. So here are images from the web as consolation.

Baldwin’s tower.

 

Ruins of the palace

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