Tsarevets Fortress rises above the town of Veliko Tarnovo, on the northern side of Bulgaria. Today it is a well-restored complex that tells its visitors an ancient history, and in the Middle Ages, the fortress walls protected civilians and played an important defensive role for the whole city.
History of Tsarevets fortress
Even before the time of the Bulgarian kingdom, this area was used by the ancient Romans, in the 5th century they were the first to build a fortress here in order to profitably use the high location of the hill. In the 7th century, the fortification was destroyed by the ancient Slavic tribes.
Since 1186, the capital of the Bulgarian state, the city of Veliko Tarnovo, has been located here. Historical sources describe the city as "the second after Constantinople", the spiritual and cultural life here had a very high level. Kings were crowned in the city and the residence of the archbishop and patriarch was located. Successful trade was conducted not only with the nearest neighbors, but also with other European countries, crafts were actively developed.
In 1393, after the siege by the Ottoman troops, the city would have been almost completely burned down, all local cultural monuments were destroyed, the Tsarevets fortress itself turned into ruins and remained in this state until our time.
Now some of the fortifications have been restored, and there are guided tours around the territory. The Tsarevets fortress is very popular among families with children.
Sights of the Tsarevets fortress
The Patriarchal Church of the Ascension of the Lord has been completely restored, but now functions as a museum. Its walls are decorated with paintings by the artist Teofan Sokerov, the images describe the history of the formation and fall of the second Bulgarian kingdom. On the frescoes of the scene, which is dominated by red and black colors. The building itself is a monument of church architecture.
A lion at the entrance to the fortress meets travelers at the swing bridge that led to the Tsarevets fortress. Today the bridge is stationary, but the lion, as a symbol of Bulgaria, sits at the entrance holding the coat of arms with the image of the fortress in front of it.
Baldwin's Tower is located on the northern side of the Tsarevets fortress on a sheer cliff. The tower bears the name of the emperor of the Latin Empire, Baldwin of Flanders. According to legend, the emperor was captured, losing the battle, for which he was captured and imprisoned in the tower by Tsar John the Good. The king's wife was imbued with feelings for the captive and offered to run away with her. Baldwin refused her and the offended woman slandered him. The emperor was executed, but the queen was also exposed and executed next.
There is also a legend about an ancient vault in which treasures are hidden, many treasure hunters have been to find them, but so far without success.
In the evening, the territory of the Tsarevets fortress is illuminated with colorful lights and with the help of sounds and light a whole show is played, completely free for everyone.