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Veliko Tarnovo ↓
On the northern slopes of the Balkan range, in extremely romantic location is situated a small town Veliko Turnovo. It has every right to be considered as the most beautiful Bulgarian town Turnovo with his interesting life reveals very rich historical past. For that reason Bulgarians think about the town as a national sacred place. Veliko Turnovo is one of the most endowed Bulgarian towns with nature, history and culture. This is not only a town, this is history in many volumes, which is not possible to read through. This is a vivid picture pointed on the rocks, water and sky. Each thing looked at twice is not the same . And the biggest thing in that town, is not its size, but its inner power. That 's not only a town that's something more.. Veliko Turnovo joins us, captivates and leaves in our mind not only memories butmental picture. It is not possible to forget the wonderful situation of Veliko Turnovo on the three peninsulas outlined by the snake-like curves of the river Jantra. The high rocky banks are beautiful. The unique view remembers forever. Veliko Turnovo is not a street, a house, a church and a palace only. It lives not only in one epoch. Veliko Turnovo is one of the everlasting towns in the world - "The Third Rome", "The Second Constantinopel", "The Bulgarian Jerusalem", "The Queen of the towns.

HISTORY In the 5th-7th cc on the territory of Veliko Turnovo rose Zikideva the largest Byzantine settlement in the province of Moesia Inferrior. Its citadel was situated on the strongly fortified Tsarevets Hill. In the 9th c on the ruins of the Early Byzantina citadel on Tsarevets Hill grew up a Bulgarian medieval settlement. Gradually it extended during the period of the First Bulgarian Kingdom and especially during the period of the Byzantine rule. In the 12th settlement was already fortified and within in were erected a nobleman's castle and several Christian religions buildings. The rebellion against Byzantium was proclaimed in 1185 during the consecration of the Church of "St.Demetrius" -The leaders of the rebellion were two local noblemen - the brothers Peter and Assen. Bulgaria recovered its independence and Turnovo became its capital. And for more than two centuries the town was the political, economic and cultural centre of the state. The mail fortress was on Tsarevets Hill-within it was the Royal Palace - an enclosed fort with representative, administrative and residential buildings. The Residence of the Bulgarian patriarche rose at the hightest site of the hill. The Patriarchal Church of the Ascension where the relics of St.Michael the Warrior of Potouka were kept was in the centre of the inner courtyard Between the strongly fortified hills of Tsarevetz and Trapesitsa, along the Jantra river in the so - called "New City" were built six churches .Around some of them there were monastries. The most famous were:"The Great Laura" around the church of the Forty Holy Martyrs and the Monastery around the SS Peter and Paul church. At the south-eastern slope of Tsarevets Hill was the Quarter of the forein merchants, known, under the me of Frenk Hissar. In that time Bulgarian was in trade relations with Venice, Genua,Dubrovnik,Pisa. Many cultural and artstic valuables were created in the capital. They define the priority of the town in the fate of the Bulgarian state. For two centuries Turnovo was the main production and spiritual centre. The economic develop-ment led to the minting of Bulgarian coins. In the capitals monetary mint King Ivan Assen II struck his first gold coins with Bulgarian inscriptions. Gradually the Bulgarian coins began to circulate at the international market.In the second half of the 14th c they began to be usedin Serbia,Bosna,Wallahia, Venice. An evidence for the international prestige of the Bulgarian state and its capital were the seals of the rulers and the high clergy with the seals were affixed the international contracts the private and the state correspondence. The sculpture in the capital was a kind of decorative art, connected with the secular and the cult architecture. Along with the works of the monumental sculpture there are diverse samples of small plastics - stone and steatite icons crosses of local and imported origin the manifacture of small ceramic icons became very popular. During the period of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom a very well developed craft was the bone carving. Naturally the manifacture of ornaments was very important for the capital. The ornaments for the aristocracy were made of gold and silver, while the mass production was of copper and alloys, but they repeated the shape of the ornaments made of precious metals. The most popular and attractive technique of filigree, granulation an cellular enamel were applied by the jewelers when they manufactured the ornaments. Skilful potters produced building, kitchen and decorative ceramics. Of particularly great importance was the manufacture of luxurious vessels with high artistic qualities. In Bulgaria, under the influence of the Byzantine centres penetrated the "sgraffito" technique. Turnovo became the largest centre for production of sgraffito ceramics. The medieval Bulgarian masters assimilated the complex technique of its production perfectly. During the Middle Ages/12th-14th cc./ Turnovo became an important literary and cultural centre, not only for the Bulgarians but for all slav countries.The Bulgarian kings generously patronized the scholars.

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