One of the symbols of Bulgaria is considered the Madarа rider — an ancient, embossed image carved on a rock. The Madarа rider is the main exhibit of a whole complex dedicated to the history of the Bulgarian people. Since 1979, he has been included in the World Heritage List.
The image of the rider on the horse has an ambiguous history of appearance. Most archaeologists agree that the monument appeared on a rock in the 8-9th century AD:
- Some argue that in the form of a rider appears the Bulgarian khan Tervel, who defeated the lion ( maybe the lion symbolizes some other enemy ).
- There is still an opinion that the horse is a Thracian god, and the image itself is the work of Thracians.
- Others believe that the image of the Slavic god Svyatovit or, in another opinion, St. George the Victorious was captured on the rock.
One way or another, the Madarа rider — is the only historical monument in Europe carved on a rock that has survived to this day.
Horseman — the main exhibit, the historical and archaeological reserve of Madarа. In ancient times, people lived in these places. This is evidenced by household items found here and numerous caves, they were used not only as dwellings, but also as shrines. In one of the caves, water flows down the wall, it is considered healing. In another cave, right on the wall is an image of the icon of St. Panteleimon, believers today put candles here and pray to the saint. On the territory of the reserve, not only numerous monuments of ancient culture are protected, but also local nature and animals living in the vicinity.
Notably, the image of the rider is at an altitude of about 23 meters. At the same time, it is made in natural size and covers an area of 3 by 2.5 meters. You can see and photograph it from a special site, to which there is a steep stone staircase of 400 steps.
In one hand, the Madarаsky rider holds reins, and the other spear, the tip of which pierces the lion. There is a helmet and clothes on the rider. On the horse, the saddle and the legs of the rider are inserted into the stirrups. This small detail suggests that the rider was a representative of Bulgarian nomads, since the tribes living here did not use stirrers. The rider accompanies the dog — in ancient Bulgarians the dogs were sacred animals and revered.
Near the image of the Madarа rider, there are several cave letters in Greek, they describe some of the events that took place in those days in the Bulgarian state. The inscriptions are more of origin, and may have been added at different times.
Visit to the — reserve the opportunity to see a one-of-a-kind monument of ancient culture, and get acquainted with other interesting objects. Unfortunately, time and natural factors seek to destroy ancient artifacts, but scientists are trying their best to preserve them for future generations.