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Monasteries | Old Bulgarian Capitals | Museum Towns
Pliska - the first Bulgarian Capital
Pliska was the first Capital (after 681-893) of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Its ruins lie 3 km north of today's village of Pliska (prev. name Aboba). Its name was mentioned in many resources most si- gnificant of which are the Bulgarian apocryphal chronicle from XI c. AD as the town of Plyuska founded by Asparuh Khan, the By- zantine authors George Cedrin, John Zonara, Anna Komnina as Pliskusa. The town had area of 23 km2 and was surrounded by 21 km long defensive line built up of moat and rampart. The Inner town had area of 0.5 km2 rectan- gular shape and had 2.6 m thick and about 12 m high fortress walls, cylindrical towers at each corner, and two other towers at each wall.
Veliki Preslav - the second Bulgarian Capital
Veliki Preslav ( The Great Preslav ) was the se- cond Capital of the First Bulgarain Kingdom. Tzar Simeon ( 893-927 ) erected the new capital which became a powerful cultural, political and admini- strative centre of the young christian state. The town had area of about 5 km2 surrounded by fortress walls up to 3 m thick.
Veliko Turnovo - the Capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom
The old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Turnovo, residence of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1187-1393), the city in which 22 tsarsn succession bore the scepter of authority, was situated on three hills: Tzarevetz, Trapezitza and Sveta Gora. Tzarevetz is a natural inaccessible fortress where the royal palace, patriarchal church and a The Baldwin Tower multitude of smaller cross-domed churches once stood. The outer walls of the fortress have been restored and all archaeological finds inside are displayed intact and exhibi- ted as they were discovered. Central among them are the ruins of the royal palace with the Baldwin Tower and the patriarch's church. Many churches have been pre- served as monuments of early medieval architecture and painting.
Trapezitza hill rises on the opposite bank of the Yantra River. Here were the boyars' homes and some public buildings, churches above all. Seventeen of these have been unearthed. At the foot of the two hills, outside the fortress walls, several mediaeval churches from the Second Bulgarian Kingdom have been preserved: St. Dimiter of Salonika, Holy Forty Martyrs, Sts. Peter and Paul. Between the 12th and the 14th century Sveta Gora Hill was the centre of Bulgaria's religious and cultural life. It is the Turnovo literary and painting school that has given the world the Manasses' Chronicle and King Ivan Alexander's Four Gospels. It exerted a significant and lasting influence throughout South-East Europe.