The Old Bulgarian Capitals (Pliska, Preslav)

The glorious past of the First Bulgarian Kingdom

Today we’re lucky to possess rich information and artifacts from the glorious times of the first Bulgarian capitals – Pliska and Preslav. We can see the palaces of khans Krum and Omurtag along with their fortified walls, albeit in ruins, the temples of god Tangra, the Big Basilica and many more farm and housing buildings. The first Bulgarian capital – Pliska (681 – 893) was scientifically discovered by the founder of archaeology in the country – Karel Škorpil. The first excavations began in 1899 and have been going on to this day. They are all united in an outdoor museum called Pliska National Historical-Archaeological Reserve which is declared an archaeological monument of culture of national importance. The museum pleases the visitor with its contemporary look and the richness of the finds displayed in it. They are ordered chronologically and follow the two main periods of Pliska’s existence – the pagan and the Christian. There are scale models of the two palaces and the Big Basilica. The collection represents the customs, culture and military life of the citizens of the capital. Thanks to the excavations, now spanning more than 100 years, today we know a lot about the existence of the first capital. In the beginning the buildings were wooden but after the whole city was burnt down by Byzantine emperor Nikephoros in 811 the capital was raised again but this time in stone. The most important event that happened in Pliska – the adoption of Christianity in 811 under the rule of Knyaz Boris I – changed the capital. New temple construction began (parts of the Big Basilica can be seen even today) and the pagan temples were refashioned into Christian.


Because of Knyaz Boris’s first-born son Vladimir-Rasate’s attempt to bring back the pagan faith during his rule, the capital was moved from Pliska to Preslav and Simeon I took control over the state.


Today’s town of Veliki Preslav was established more than 1100 years ago as a fortified city and was declared a capital in 893. In those years Bulgaria was living through its best period – the so called Golden Age. During the Middle Ages Preslav became one of the most magnificent and beautiful cities in Southeastern Europe. Its glory faded after 970 when it was conquered by Kievan knyaz Svetoslav I. He moved the capital of Kievan Rus here. A year later Preslav was conquered by the Byzantines and remained under their rule for the next two centuries. The city returned to the “hands” of Bulgaria after boyars Asen and Peter’s uprising and the restoration of the Bulgarian state. Various types of evidence for the life in the second capital have remained to this day – painted ceramics, adornments, among which the ones from the Preslav golden treasure, weapons, the ceramic iconostasis from the palace monastery, a replica of the monumental icon of St. Theodore, many ancient inscriptions, a unique collection of lead stamps and others. They are all on display at the Veliki Preslav Archaeological Musem. Today we can also see remains of a palace complex which had two monumental buildings – the so called Golden Church, a unique monument of architecture, and the ruler’s temple. The ruins are part of the Veliki Preslav National Historical-Archaeological Reserve, declared a national reserve. Together with the Pliska reserve, it is among the 100 National Tourist Sites.

View the Sites

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    Pliska Archaeological Reserve

    The contemporary town of Pliska preserves the glorious history of the magnificent first Bulgarian capital.

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    "Founders of the Bulgarian State" Monument

    The monument recreates the most important moments of the early history of the Bulgarian state, symbolizes its establishment, development and progress.

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    Madara National Historical and Archaeological Reserve

    The Madara National Historical and Archaeological Reserve, including the famous rock bas-relief, stands on the Madara Plateau. The complex consists of fort ruins, temples and civil buildings. The fortress reveals breathtaking views of the plane.

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    Historical and Archaeological Reserve "Shumen Fortress"

    The Historical and Archaeological Reserve "Shumen fortress" is situated on the Shumen plateau, 3 km away from the center of modern-day Shumen.

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    Veliki Preslav National Historical-Archaeological Reserve

    The great millennial history of Veliki Preslav still lives in the ruins of fortress walls, palaces, churches, monasteries, workshops and ateliers.

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    Catholic Monastery of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

    The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Catholic Monastery of almost 100 years of age, located in the village of Tsarev Brod in the Shumen region.

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    Veliki Preslav Archaeological Museum

    The Veliki Preslav Archaeological Museum houses thousands of finds from Simeon’s capital as well as objects that were made to serve our ancestors during the Golden Age.

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    крепост Овеч

    Източно от град Провадия на планинското плато с формата на кораб, наречено „Калето“, се намира крепостта Овеч.