The answer is very simple – because it is amazing. And without wanting to offend anyone, I will clarify that I am not talking about the modern city. I am talking about the Second Old Bulgarian Capital, which sheltered the authors of a golden age for the Bulgarian state. To my great shame, I saw it for the first time very recently, after I was growing up only 130 kilometers from it for a certain number of years, and during the other N years it always happened so that I stopped in Shumen, Pliska, Madara, but either time was not enough, or something went wrong and the old Bulgarian capital of Veliki Preslav dropped out of the program. Don’t wait like me, find time and visit it!
This is what the place that our ancestors chose for the construction of the old Bulgarian capital of Veliki Preslav looked like during our visit in early June. Nice place, green and sheltered. This meadow in particular was inside the town, right in front of the South Gate of the Inner City. We do not know what it was ‘covered’ with, that is, what buildings were there; today we go through it to get from the above-mentioned Inner City to the round Golden Church and / or vice versa, depending on where we stop first by car.
The GPS took us first to the Golden Church, where the really kind host told us a lot about the site; how no archaeologist wanted to start excavations because they considered it unpromising on the bare field, and so now there is a monument to the first one who dared. Unfortunately, I did not remember his name – according to sources on the Internet, it is either Krastyu Miyatev or Yurdan Gospodinov, these are the two first researchers of the church. It (the church) itself has been partially restored so that we can get an idea of what it looked like.
From there, a short walk through the wonderful meadows took us to the Inner City of the Old Bulgarian capital of Veliki Preslav. I recommend climbing on top the South Gate, you can see from there the whole site and the surrounding panorama. You can also see how the fortress was used from all possible directions – outside the commercial premises leaned against it, on two floors, so that nothing is lost. And inside were the barracks of the palace warriors.
Inside this citadel, for some unknown reason, there are several palaces – one residential palace of the royal family, another apparently representative, called the Throne Palace, and at least one other residential palace, but it did not say whose. Not to mention the Patriarchal Palace. Separately, the Ruler’s Basilica and the Palace Church, plus at least one smaller church (cross-domed) in one of the courtyards. Special attention was paid to the so-called Preslav phial, which was a special round fountain located in a round gazebo. It is never too late to learn something new.
For me personally, the most amazing site was located farther from the Inner City, considering that the capital was not small at all and, as the dear lady at the Golden Church said, here, where you dig in the ground, remains spring up. And we almost missed this site, as it is marked only by a small sign along the road, pointing to the left in the fields, with the inscription “Palace Monastery, 300 m”. The road is actually a track in a not very good condition, and you are expected to park up on the asphalt and walk. We, being hot-shots in a jeep-like car, drove there, but I warn you that the distance is much greater than 300 m.
The complex is huge and although only the foundations of the buildings are visible now, it is very impressive. The very location at the base of a hill to provide protection shows foresight and wise planning. At the ends of the complex are rows of square rooms, marked as “monastery workshops” – I assume that it was here where the boom of various literary activities of the Golden Age happened. As befits a monastery complex, there is a central church and at least one chapel, baths, living quarters and a farmyard.
For the finale I left the Archaeological Museum of the Old Bulgarian capital of Veliki Preslav, which is now almost near the modern city. I would like to note, as in the other old Bulgarian capital – Pliska, the care and attention of the managers of the site, evident in every detail. From the shady parking lot with a small garden, through the alley with trees, flowers and a rock plant patch, to the very entrance of the museum and the fountain, which has a high spout for people and a low one for pets – everything welcomes the visitor. And don’t miss the working vending machines for coffee, water, other soft drinks and small snacks.
The museum naturally presents finds from the Old Bulgarian capital of Veliki Preslav, which give an idea of the standard of living, crafts, arts and the whole culture in those times. The most amazing finds are in the Treasury, where unfortunately it is not allowed to take pictures, but it can be a good incentive to tempt you to go and see for yourself. For me personally, the most interesting was the Preslav ceramics, starting with the painted tiles for decorating walls and floors, the wonderful pottery and ending with the famous icon of St. Theodore from the Patleina Monastery.
I sincerely hope I was able to show you my admiration for this very Bulgarian and very wonderful place. If you haven’t discovered it yet, wait no more!