Bulgaria's Medieval Capital Resurrected in Unique Model

Culture | May 24, 2011, Tuesday // 17:37|  views

The unique model of 10th century Veliki Preslav, the second Bulgarian capital in the Balkans. Photo by BGNES

The residents of Veliki Preslav, the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire in the 10th century, received as a gift a unique model of their town from its most glorious times.

Hristo Antonov, a retired veterinarian, took 21 months to build the model of Veliki Preslav, the first truly Christian capital of Bulgaria, whose remains are partly still standing today.

He presented the model to the town on the occasion of May 24, the Day of Slavic Script and Bulgarian Culture. In the late 9th and 10th century Preslav, with its Preslav Literary School, was the major spot where the Old Bulgarian, i.e. Slavic literature was developed based on the newly invented Cyrillic alphabet. St. Naum of Preslav and St. Kliment of Ohrid were the two most important Bulgarian disciples of the investors of the Slavic script, St. Cyril and St. Methodius.

Antonov's model of the inner city of Veliki Preslav (i.e. "Great Preslav") is 4 meters long and 3.6 meters wide, and is made of 20 types of plants. The Preslav History Museum has already decided to include the model in its permanent display.

The model features the palace of the Bulgarian Tsar, the Patriarch's residence, the ruler's basilica, barracks, baths, and residential buildings.

Antonov is known for having created models of the Rila Monastery and the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, among others.

Veliki Preslav became the second Bulgarian capital in the Balkans, after in 893 AD the leadership of the First Bulgarian Empire decided to move the capital there from the nearby town of Pliska, which was connected with pagan traditions.

Veliki Preslav was capital of Bulgaria from 893 till 971 AD when it was captured by Byzantine troops, and Bulgaria's capital was moved to Ohrid located in today's Macedonia.

After in the mid 9th century, Bulgaria adopted Christianity and took up and developed the Cyrillic/Slavic script, the new capital was designed to be a new start in these traditions. It is connected with the reign of the most successful Bulgarian ruler, Tsar Simeon I (893-927 AD), was recognized as Tsar, i.e. Emperor of Bulgaria, by the Constantinople Patriarch.

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Tags: St. Cyril and St. Methodius, Veliki Preslav, First Bulgarian Empire, Tsar Simeon, Slavic script, St. Naum of Preslav, St. Kliment of Ohrid, Pliska, 893, 971, 927, Byzantine, Byzantium, Christianity, Preslav Literary School, Hristo Antonov, Rila Monastery, St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral


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