Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Via Pontica



About the site

Corridor: Via Pontica
Country: Bulgaria, Veliki Preslav
Type: Fortress
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Fortresses
World Heritage:
Middle AgesFortressesFortress

Great Preslav is located in the valley of the Kamchia river, north-east Bulgaria. In ancient times there was a Thracian settlement, traces of which were found during the archaeological excavations. After the foundation of the Bulgarian state (681), a strategic settlement was established, with strong fortification walls, water-supplied and developed. With the changes in the political life after the adoption of Christianity (864), the capital was moved from Pliska to Great Preslav (893). The town rapidly flourished, becoming a centre not only of politics, but also of architecture, handicrafts, literature and education. Great Preslav, covering area of 3.2 square km, was encircled by two concentric fortification walls. In the inner town – the Citadel – were located the palace and the supporting buildings. There were a number of impressive public buildings, churches and monasteries, decorated with gold and silver. Remarkable are the ruins of the great Royal hall and of the Golden (Round) church, built in 908. It is a central building with 12 conches and 12 columns with white marble in-between. In Preslav were discovered also numerous objects of art, amongst which stands out the unique ceramic icon of St. Theodore Stratilat dating back to the 10th c. This masterpiece of Medieval art laid the foundations of Bulgarian icon painting. There is a museum in the archaeological reserve, keeping the valuable findings from the Second Bulgarian state.

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