Like all the nations of the Balkans, Bulgaria has its historic memories from the glory days. For Bulgaria, that period of might was the time of 13-14th century, when their empire stretched over the Danube in today Romania and conquered large parts of Greece, till the outskirts of Constantinople. Such an impressive empire had to have a capital to match, and that was Tsarevets. Situated on the banks of river Yantra, it was not only a political capital, but also a religious capital, as a patriarchy, in the Byzantine style.

Today, the picturesque city of Veliko Tarnovo, which is close to the Romanian border and near Ruse, gathers tourists from all around the world with its narrow streets packed with ceramics, popular costumes and other souvenirs. The main attraction is the fortified hill that has the former patriarchal cathedral in its peak. The outside the church looks very well preserved, but on the inside it was turned into a museum and no longer serves its liturgic purpose. During communism, a modern painter, Teofan Sokerov, covered the walls with modernistic paintings. The paintings mix the style of Byzantine frescoes with heroic scenes from the history of Bulgaria, with some shocking scenes that could easily be judged as blasphemies for a former sacred place.

The entire hill of the fortress is now covered with reflectors that can create a splendid show during the evening.
If you want to see a real unaltered Orthodox church in Veliko Tarnovo, you can see the Cathedral of the Birth of the Theotokos (the name Eastern Christians give to the Mother of God). The large cathedral with green domes was built at the beginning of the 20th century by Kolyu Ficheto.

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