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”The Assumption” Church, ElenaCod 2584

“Assumption of the Holy Virgin” church is one of the undeniable attractions of Elena, a unique monument of architecture and art from the Renaissance era; it is located in the same yard with the church “St. Nikola.” It was built on the site of an old chapel from an initiative of the rich citizens of Elena. The old chapel was built with the approval of the Ruse-Tarnovo Region Smail Aga in 1800 and renewed in 1813. But the wood building was not satisfying the needs of the city therefore the citizens of Elena decided to build a bigger church.
The construction started in 1836 and was ended in 1838 when the church was dedicated on August 28th. It is completely made of stone using the materials from the destroyed citadel.
With its impressive dimensions (length 33 meters, 21 meters wide, 25 meters’ height) and bold and successful architecture, the temple is one of the most important representation of the church building during the Renaissance. It was the largest in the whole north till the liberation of Bulgaria and one of the largest in the country today.
The construction of the church was done by Master Miho from the neighbourhood Upper Bolertsi near Elena. The entire building was done with solid material and the artistic execution reflects the trust of the citizens and the courage of Miho Master. This Master lived in the same period as Nikola Fichev, Usta Gencho Kanev and is at the same level of imagination, projection and implementation.
The “Assumption” Church is monumental, with three naves, three apses with a narthex and a gallery above it. The three naves were separated by two rows with four thin round columns. The nave is on average double compared with the lateral. The arches are held by springs, connected to the general construction system, in both directions, armed with wooden stretchers. The static sense of master Miho, he was able to ease the impact of the construction and achieve great heights by placing large windows in each area so that the entire interior space acts together optimally.
In 1861 the temple has undergone a correction, after which it was left an inscription on the west wall, high above the cornice. A separate building is the bell tower, built in 1912.
In 1925 the church “Assumption” lost many precious paintings and art – the iconostasis burned in the fire. The new iconostasis was carved by George Kirov, and the icons are painted by the artist Hristo Berberova.

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