The church “St. Forty martyrs” reminds the glory of the Bulgarian kingdoms

If one can give the definition of the most Bulgarian temple, this may be the church “St. Forty Martyrs” in Veliko Tarnovo. There are many reasons for this. The temple at the foot of the Tsarevets hill in the old Bulgarian capital was built by Tsar Ivan Assen in honor of his victory at Klokotnitsa against the Epic Despot Theodor Komnin. The battle was won on 9 March 1230. This is one of the few cases in which Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Assen decides the political aspects of Bulgaria with a sword. Typically, he relied on dynastic alliances and marriages, with which Bulgaria extends almost to the territories during the reign of Tsar Simeon the Great, also called a golden age.

St. Forty martyrs church Veliko Tarnovo

In the temple “St. Forty Martyrs” many centuries later, on September 22, 1908, King Ferdinand I proclaimed the independence of Bulgaria. When you visit the church today you will see other monuments connected with the glorious days of the Bulgarian kingdoms –  the symbolic marble sarcophaguses with the names of some of the Bulgarian rulers. The remains of Tsar Kaloyan are the only real remains in the temple. They were found in the space in front of the entrance to the church, and for the fact that the 190-cm skeleton was the great ruler speaks the intended ring with the sign of Tsar Kaloyan. After staying for years in the Museum of the Veliko Tarnovo, he is reburied with honors.

St. Forty martyrs church Veliko Tarnovo

It is assumed that another Bulgarian Tsar is buried in the church “St. Forty martyrs” – the one by whose order the temple was built – Tsar Ivan Assen. You can read the names on the honorable marble sarcophaguses of Khan Kubrat and the founder of the Bulgarian state Khan Asparuh, the Tsar Ivailo, Tsar Michael Shishman. In addition, there is the first grave of the  Serbian saint St. Sava. On it, though empty today, the believers today find comfort and healing of various diseases.

St. Forty martyrs church Veliko Tarnovo

Impressive are preserved murals in the temple, as well as epigraphic monuments. It is in the church “St. Forty martyrs” are preserved three of the most famous columns related to the Bulgarian historical past – the Aseneva, the Omurtag and the Rodosto columns. The inscription of Tsar Ivan Assen is dedicated to the victorious battle at Klokotnitsa. The second column tells of the construction of the royal palace from Khan Omurtag on the Danube. It ends with the famous words – A man, even if he lives wellq dies. And another is born. And let the person born later, seeing these writings, remember the one who did them. A third column tells of the capture of the Byzantine fortress Rodosto on the Sea of ​​Marmara by Khan Krum.

St. Forty martyrs church Veliko Tarnovo
St. Forty martyrs church Veliko Tarnovo
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Alehander_Popkonstantinov@dpbweb.com

I love history, to walk through old cobblestone streets, to smell the air of the past times and to feel the legends in the air. And I'm lucky to have been born in a country with a glorious past and a lot of stories to tell. Bulgaria was founded more than 1,300 years ago and has never changed its name. But the life of people, their everyday habits, their traditions, their music and their art have changed over the centuries. I invite you to take a walk through the different ages of Bulgaria and to get to know it better.