THE SAINT STEPHEN CHURCH

THE CHURCH ST. STEPHEN, known as The New Bishopric, was built in the period 11th - 13th century. In 16th century the church was elongated and in the 18th century a nartex was added. The church is a three-nave basilica. The central nave raises up above the lateral and has oval frontons in the east and west. The church was built in stones and bricks. For the construction of the church many architectural elements -cornises, capitals, reliefs of destroied earlier buildings were secondary used.

In the beginning the church was dedicated to the Holly Mother. That why the wall paintings represent scenes from the Holy Mothers life.

The date of the churchs painting is marked on a donators inscription, situated above the southern door of the naos 1599.

There are 258 mural paintings and more than 1000 figures. Scenes from the Miracles of Christ, according to the Gospel legends are given in all range.

The style shows that three painters have worked - two of them on the eastern part of the naos ant the third - on the western. Later, in the 18th century, the scenes of the Last Judgements day were painted on the eastern part of the nartex in traditional iconographic style for the time. An original painted iconostasis, dated back to 16th century and wood-carved throne and a pulpit from 18th century are preserved in the church.

Because of its architectural style, iconostasis and first of all because of its remarquable mural paintings, the church St. Stephen is one of the most important monuments of Bulgarian cultural heritage.

The church operates as a museum.
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