Holy Forty Martyrs Church, Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo

Holy Forty Martyrs Church, Veliko Tarnovo

The Holy Forty Martyrs Church is a medieval Eastern Orthodox church constructed in 1230 in the town of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria, the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

The Holy Forty Martyrs Church, an elongated six-columned basilica, has three semicircular apses and a narrow narthex from the west. Another building was added later to the west side of the church. The church interior was covered with mural painting probably in 1230. On the western addition some of the outer decoration survived revealing the traditional arches and coloured small ceramic plates inserted into the wall. It is not clear if the church has frescoes painted on the outer walls.

Some of the Bulgarian Empire's most significant historical records are stored in the church, including Omurtag's Column, Asen's Column and the Border Column from Rodosto from the rule of Khan Krum. The columns of Khan Omurtag and khan Krum are written in Greek language. The inscription of the column of Krum "Fortress of Rodostro" has been turned upside down. The inscription of Omurtag is about building of a new glorious palace on Danube river, location is still unknown. The second part of the inscription is a legacy for the new generations to remember the deeds of Omurtag. These columns were placed in the church by Ivan Asen II as a tribute to his mighty ancestors.