First Bulgarian Kingdom


They quickly became centers where the literary activity and artistic life of the first Bulgarian kingdom developed.

Most monasteries from the era of the First Bulgarian State were built in Preslav. They are associated with the name of Tsar Simeon and the scholarly activity and the artistic life developed intensively thanks to them. The monasteries of Veliki Preslav were called to play the role of centers of Christian piety.

Eight monasteries existed around Preslav and its immediate vicinity. These are usually large residential facilities associated with churches. In most of them, their purpose as monasteries is unquestionable.

There were four monastery complexes on the right bank of the Tisza outside the fortified city. The most sheltered in the mountains is the famous monastery in Patleina. Folklore preserved in the local name shows that the monastery’s church was dedicated to St. Panteleon. It was a cruciform domed building, erected on an artificial embankment terrace below the mountain slope. There were other buildings around and south of the church. One of them was a particularly long building and according to the plan of its foundations it can be assumed that there was a significant number of rooms on the floor - cells with awnings above them. The terrace, above which the church was built, was fortified on the west side of the slope with a thick retaining wall, also reinforced by a solid supporting tower at the corner. There were a number of rooms in front of this retaining wall on a lower level, not opened towards the monastery yard, but towards the outside. The presence of kilns for the production of painted clay pottery in them indicates that these were ceramic workshops. Under the monastery, next to the mountain river, furnaces for producing such ceramics have been found. Southeast of the church itself, in a small building, numerous pieces of molten glass were found, which suggests that the production of glass resin for mosaic took place there.

An interesting monastery complex on the right bank of the Tisza was the monastery in the Tuzlalaka area. The church of this monastery was cross-domed. As in the church in Patleina, its interior decoration of painted white clay tiles in relief. The monastery yard was surrounded by straight, long buildings with living quarters.

The monastery in Tuzlalaka is remarkable for its open kilns and workshops for the production of white clay painted ceramics. Remains of finished products used in the construction and decoration of the church were also found. A painting workshop was discovered south of it. Apart from the clergy and scribes, the monks were also potters and painters.

Two other monasteries, in this part of the Preslav area, are located at the bottom of a picturesque valley at the foot of the Preslav mountain. In the extreme eastern corner of the Byal Bryag valley, in the Valkashina area, there are the remains of an extensive monastery complex formed by a rectangular courtyard surrounded by long buildings with cells and a cruciform domed church, of which only the massive stylobate under the actual building was preserved. Immediately above this monastery, on a flat slope of mountain hills, stand the impressive remains of another monastery complex - the one in the Avradaka area. The rectangular monastery yard had its open part orientated towards the whole picturesque valley for the enjoyment its inhabitants. The white fortress walls and palaces of the city glistened at the bottom of this panorama of mountains and hills.

 What is special about this monastery as a complex is that its church, a cruciform domed building of the developed type with free half-domed supports, is located outside the monastery yard. It differed from all Preslav churches with its rich architectural and sculptural decoration. In addition to the cornices, composed of limestone partitions decorated with round torii, denticles and wolf-teeth motifs in successful intricate combinations, three-dimensional sculpted animal heads made of limestone were built into its facades, giving the building a peculiar "animal" style of decoration.

From the fortified town of Preslav there are reliable data for two monastery complexes. One, known many years ago in the Tcheresheto area, is famous for its wooden church. Apart from the usual monastery ensembles buildings with one row of rooms (cells), this monastery certainly had a monastery dining room, which differs from other buildings with their long hall, oriented from west to east and ending in the east with an altar apse. .

 A large monastery complex was discovered in the northwestern part of the Outer City on a sloping terrace, which descends from the mountain hill Zabuite to the east. The size of this ensemble, its location next to the palace Inner City end the wealth of its inhabitants, illustrated by numerous finds, leave no doubt that life in this monastery was closely connected with the life of the palaces.

 The monastery had two large courtyards, surrounded by long buildings with a significant number of rooms. Between the north and south courtyards stood the church, as usual, a cruciform domed building. The monastery under Zabuite lived an intense life for a long time. Some of the residential buildings have been renovated. Next to the western wing of the monastery buildings, adjacent to it, an additional small, probably also cruciform, domed building was built from the typical for Preslav plan with filled interframes.

  The development of church architecture in the first half and middle of the tenth century and the general trends in the spiritual life of the country led to the founding and expansion of monasteries both in the urban administrative centers of the country and beyond.

 With the erection of the monastery complexes around Veliki Preslav, Tsar Simeon set the beginning of active educational and literary activity. Thus, the spiritual centers became centers of Bulgarian culture from the time of the Golden Age of this exceptional Bulgarian ruler.

Guests and visitors of the Historical Park will be able to experience life in the monasteries - a center of spirituality during the reign of Tsar Simeon the Great. In a specially recreated scriptorium, everyone will be able to write their name and message on parchment under the guidance of an experienced reenactor-calligrapher, take it home and thus become involved in the lives of those educators and clergy who gave the Slavic script t the world and raised the name of Bulgaria among the Christian world of the time.