Tsarevets, the Capital of the Second Bulgarian Nation: When in 1185 the uprising led by Peter IV and Ivan Asen I led to the fall of Byzantine domination, it was decided to build a new capital for Bulgaria reborn, on three ancient hills, between the Yantra River .


The protobulgarian settlement on the Tsarevets hill dates back to the 9th century, and in the 12th century the fortress was built. The thick walls of 3.6 m surrounded by inaccessible rocks defended the throne of the Bulgarian leaders.

Only three gates ensured the entrance to the citadel, two of which were kept. In the central parts of the hill there are ruins of the palace, which was a stand-alone bastion with two towers and two entrance gates.

The king’s residence, along with the Throne Hall and St. Stephen’s Chapel.Petka’s palace occupied 4,872 sqm.


In the 12th century, both the Holy Ascension Patriarchal Cathedral and its adjoining building, which was the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate, were built on the site of a sixth-century Byzantine church.

The residence of the Bulgarian patriarchs was a fortified building with two defense towers, located on the highest part of the hill above the royal palace. The entire surface of the complex was 3000 square meters.

The three-nave Patriarchal Cathedral features a triple apse and respects the traditional Byzantine design of the cross in the square. The cathedral includes two narratives (pronaos), a bell tower and two other rooms connected to the southern wall of the church.

When the church was renovated in 1981, artist Teofan Sokerov painted the interior again, evoking in a modern style the key moments of Bulgarian medieval history.

Due to the presence of these paintings, the church has never been resigned.


The current tower was rebuilt in the 1930s by the architect Aleksander Rashenov, on the site of the medieval towers. According to the legend, the Latin Emperor Baldwin I of Flanders died here, murdered by the Caucasian tsar.

Baldwin tried to subjugate the Bulgarians, but was captured by Caloian following the Battle of Adrianopole in 1205.

Baldwin was held prisoner in a tower of the fortress as a war trophy to death.According to contemporary astronomer George Acroplites, Baldwin’s skull was transformed by Caloian into a drinking cup.


  • Trapezita Hill – the place where St. Demetrius Church of Thessaloniki is located and where between 1186 and 1230 were crowned the country of Bulgaria.
  • Sveta Gora – the third hill in Veliko Tarnovo, now the seat of a university, once surrounded by churches and monasteries.
  • Old Town – with its old churches, museums and merchant houses.


  • Archaeologists have discovered on Tsarevets the ruins of 370 houses, 22 churches and 4 monasteries.
    Sava died in Veliko Tarnovo and was buried in the Church of the 40 Martyrs.His relics returned to Serbia in 1237.
  • Caloian tsar was crowned King of Bulgaria at a Roman Catholic ceremony, Incorporation was carried out by Bishop Leon, tied to Pope Innocent III.
  • The Veliko Tarnovo Constitution of 1879 was one of the most democratic of the nineteenth century. The current constitution was ratified in 1990 in the same room as its predecessor.
    The name Tarnovo derives from the Slavic term for spin.