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A medieval church and a reliquary cross were discovered at the foot of the Ryakhovets fortress near Gorna Oryahovitsa
Monday, Nov 13, 2023
A medieval church of the 8th century with a necropolis and extremely interesting finds was discovered at the foot of the medieval fortress "Ryahovets" near Gorna Oryahovitsa. Researchers came across the remarkable Christian building during the ninth archaeological season. It lasted 28 working days with funding of nearly BGN 47,000 provided by the Ministry of Culture.
The archaeological researches of the emblematic Gorna-Oryahovitsa's fortress continue without interruption for the ninth year. In the period 2015 - 2022, a team of specialists uncovered structures and materials from the 3rd-2nd millennium before Christ to the 13th century. In order to clarify the chronology of construction and reconstruction of the facilities, three sectors have already been studied - the northern fortress wall with a section of the interior, the main southeast gate and the southern suburb of the fortress.
" According to one of the working hypotheses at this stage, this could be the Rahauch castle seen in the 15th century by the German poet Michael Beheim.
He says that in 1414 the Crusaders captured and burned down the castle of Rahauch. It is possible that he saw the Ryahovets fortress precisely, because it was a tower that rises and can be seen from kilometers away," explained Iliyan Petrakiev.
Archaeologists stumbled upon the remains last December, when they found the base of a column. In order to preserve it, they took it to the Historical Museum in Gorna Oryahovitsa and waited patiently until the current archaeological season.
On the very first day of the start of the studies, a wall with an east-west direction appeared. After a few days, the researchers also discovered wall paintings. The fragments have already been cleaned by Associate Professor Plamen Sabev from the "Christian Art" department at the Regional History Museum in Veliko Tarnovo. Remains of the southern and northern walls of the temple were discovered, as well as a small part of the apse, which fell into a nearby ravine. A necropolis with 10 graves was also discovered. Eight of the graves are of adults and two of children. An interesting inventory was found in them - two earrings, a ring, a silver ring. One of the skeletons is of a woman who was buried wearing a headscarf decorated with over 100 glass beads. In another grave, textile remains were found with copper thread woven into the sleeves and resembling mittens. An encolpion cross was also found under the floor of the church.According to Iliyan Petrakiev, these are pectoral crosses for keeping relics or a piece of the cross of Christ. Such reliquary crosses were often built into temples. At the four ends, the bronze cross was decorated with enamel. On it is an image of a saint and reads the name "Georgi" in Old Bulgarian. This has given rise to a working hypothesis that Saint George is probably the patron saint of the newly opened church.
The medieval fortress, from the top of which an incredible panorama is revealed, is indicated by three information boards that socialize the excavations and link the iconic site with the tourist routes in the region.
Source: www.borbabg.com
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