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Symbolic Church of St. Demetrius of Solun, Veliko TarnovoCod 2503

The symbolic Church of Sf. Dimitrie of Solun is located in the Asan neighborhood in Veliko Tirnovo. The place of worship has more than 800 years of history and is classified as medieval. It became the center of the Bulgarian uprising against Byzantium. Since its establishment until today the church was destroyed and looted several times.

It is the oldest and precisely dated medieval church of Tirnovo. It is is linked by uprising announcement led by the boyars Asen and Peter in 1185 which scarred the Byzantine leadership. In the early years it has an special importance in the metropolitan city life, here being crowned the first rulers of Asan Dynasty Asan’s – Peter, Ivan and Asan. A little later, at the end of XVIIth century and at the beginning of the XVIII century, near the Church was also created a monastery. The archaeological ruins, belongs to the monastery during the exacavations in 1971- four large buildings located in east, west and south.

The Church and the monastery around them survived until the third quarter of XIII century, when they were destroyed, probably by an earthquake. Later, in XVth century, with materials from the demolished church “St. Dimitar”, to south of it, it was built another church located on the foundations of the south monastery. After destruction of the church “St. Demetrius” and the monastery around it, in the second half of the XIVth century, it was created here a great Christian necropolis, which existed until the early twentieth century. From this were revealed and explored more than 500 graves, the remains today are kept in an ossuary especially in the north of the yard.

At the end of the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, the church “St. Demetrius” was looted and destroyed by bandits from Kardzhali. Philistine of Tirnovo -Tabash collects funds and extends it in 1848, the yard being surrounded by a high wall of stone, here being buried victims of National Liberation. During reconstruction the original plan has been lost and the churche’s volume was modified. A last hit One last shot, huge for the fate of the monument is given by earthquake in 1913, then destroyed a large part of facade elements and furnishings, documented by drawings and paintings by Hristo Kabakchiev. After a while has began the restoration and the majestic place of worship was raised again.

Short descriptions Church in the nineteenth century have left Dr. Vasil Beron, Dr. Hr. Daskalov, Felix Kanitz and others. In the second half of the XIXth century, the Churhe was severily damaged, and the earthquake in 1913 has destroyed it completely. Only the apse with fragments of original murals on both niches remains.

In the altar,there are the remains of two mural/wall layers. The oldest dates from the period when Tirnovo was the capital city. It is located in the in the altar. From the first register in the konha alter are seved 6 images with grandfather’s of the church, authors of liturgical texts involved in the scene “Adoration of the victim” (Melismos). It was definitely identified the image of St. Cyril of Alexandria. In the second register it is described a procession of deacons angels, with ripidi in their hands which are a part of the scene “Divine Liturgy”. The second layer of painting dates from the end of the XVIcentury – the beginning of the XVIIth century. To him belongs the scene “Pieta” written in niche prosthesis and a bust of Bishop over it.

The Church is called after Sf. Demetrius, known as St. Martyr Demetrius. Born in Solun in the IIIrd century. Then whe n his parents died, the emperor Maximilian called in a major military post with orders to persecute Christians. Being baptized as a child, Demetrius promotes and encourages the spread of Christianity. In 306 returned from the march from the eastern part of the Empire, the Emperor Maximilian stayed in Solun and Dimitar was asked to renounce his faith. Because of his refusal to do so, Dimitar was imprisoned and later stabbed with a spear.

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