Did you know that the Church of the Holy Forty Martyrs, built in the 13th century under Tsar Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria and hence also known as Tsar’s Church, is Veliko Tarnovo’s most celebrated medieval monument? One of the greatest Bulgarian rulers Tsar Ivan Asen II and his wife Anna Maria of Hungary lie buried here. For some time the church was also home to the relics of Saint Hilarion of Meglen, as well as to the grave of Saint Sava of Serbia. Some of the most significant historical records of the Bulgarian Empire are stored in this church. These are Omurtag’s Column, Asen’s Column and the Border Column from the Fortress of Rodosto from the rule of Khan Krum. The inscription on Asen’s Column commemorates the glorious victory of the Bulgarians over the ruler of Epirus Theodore Komnenos Doukas near Klokotnitsa in 1230, after which the Bulgarian Empire emerged as one of the most powerful states in the Balkans. It was also the main church of the Great Lavra Monastery. The building is an elongated three-apsed basilica with six columns, and houses an ossuary and mausoleum, and two galleries. The preserved mural paintings inside date back to the 13th century. In the 18th century the church was converted into a mosque, and the murals and icons were destroyed. Archaeological work has identified the burial place of Tsar Kaloyan of Bulgaria inside the church, together with his ring, bearing a heraldic image and an inscription. The church has been reconstructed many times over the centuries and has been declared a cultural monument of national significance.
- Adults - 6.00 lv, Students - 2.00 lv, Two-day individual ticket – includes 10 museum object - 20.00 lv., Two-day family ticket (up to 3 children allowed) – includes 10 museum objects - 30.00 lv
- 43°05'04.4"N 25°39'00.1"E
- Veliko Tarnovo, Asenov District
- 00359 885105282; 00359 62638841
- Buses, you can get to „Asenov” district with - 50, 110.