Veliki Preslav is a town in North East Bulgaria. It is part of Shumen region, lies 20 km away from the town of Shumen and is the third largest town in the region after Shumen and Novi Pazar. The town is also administrative and economic center of Veliki Preslav municipality.
Veliki Preslav is situated at the foot of Preslavsko-Dragoevska mountain where vast fields, cut by swift-flowing rivers are alternating with rolling green hills and century-old deciduous and coniferous forests. The climate is temperate-continental significantly influenced by the proximity of the mountain. The winter is cold and snowy, the spring is cool yet sunny, the summer is hot and the autumn is rainy. The population is approximately 9 000 people. Altitude - 92 m.
The town was founded in the 9th century AD during the reign of Boris I of Bulgaria and was initially used as a military camp with a fortified palace and a garrison, located 30 km away from Pliska - the first capital of the First Bulgarian Empire. In 893 Preslav was pronounced capital by Tzar Simeon I of Bulgaria in a period when the Bulgarian State used to be in the height of its political and cultural development.
In the Middle Ages Preslav has become one of the most beautiful and significant settlements in South East Europe. Many remarkable monuments have been preserved from this period. The town also impressed with the water-supply and sewerage systems functioning on its territory.
In its modern history Veliki Preslav was granted the statute of a town in 1883. During the Ottoman Domination the town was named Eski Stamboluk (Old Istanbul in Turkish). Later on, in 1993, a decree was issued by the Bulgarian Government to restore the town's original name - Veliki Preslav.
infrastructure and economics
The inhabitants and the guests of Veliki Preslav may take advantage on all modern conveniences and communications. There are many schools (secondary, high and vocational), kindergartens and day cares, banks, community centers, Orthodox churches, pharmacies, medical and dental centers, various kinds of shops, bars, restaurants, cafes, parks, entertainment centers, hotels and guest-houses. Full coverage of all mobile operators is available. Many internet providers offer their services. The roads are in a very good condition. All properties on the territory of the town are supplied with electricity and water on a regular basis. A sewerage system is functioning, as well.
The traditional occupation of the local people used to be agriculture, vine-growing and wine-making. Many private enterprises are functioning on the territory of Veliki Preslav engaged into the production of: furniture, bread and paste products, plastics, food products, construction materials, ready-made clothing, herbs and fruits etc. Nearby villages are well-known for the high-quality wines produced there.
- The Patleina Monastery named after "St. Panteleymon" is located near the town of Veliki Preslav. It has been established in the 9th century AD and was later on destroyed in 11th century. Its remains were revealed during archaeological excavation works carried out in 1909-1914. The monastery used to be a complex of a church (a cubic building with a dome made of stone), residential and farm buildings all arranged in three yards - a prayer, a residential and a farming ones. The unique church artefacts, created by the Preslav Art School used to be made into the monastery's workshops for glass and ceramic production.
- The National Historical-Archaeological Reserve in which one could see restored and preserved parts of the excavations of the medieval town and a museum in which part of the excavated artefacts are on display. Over 35 000 exhibits are being treasured at the museum as 1 700 of them are on display. The Museum was established in 1906.
- An ethnographic collection is on display in a house dated back to 18th-19th century preserved in its original look. Represented are customs and traditions from the region. Nearby is located a community center which was established before the Liberation.
- Preslav fortress: Like the one in Pliska it comprises an inner and an outer fortification systems. The inner fortress is set nearly in the middle of the Outer town. It is L-shaped with round towers in the corners and square ones along the walls. The palaces were built over a high plateau. Impressive remains are preserved of a palace complex, comprising two monumental buildings: a Big Palace, made of huge stone blocks and a Western Palace. The throne-room used to be with three divisions. The findings have justified the description Joan Exarh made being impressed by the lavish and impressive architecture of the palaces. Located on a high terrace near the palaces lied the Golden Church - a brilliant monument of the church architecture of the First Bulgarian Empire and a unique monument of the remarkable Bulgarian architecture of this period.
- The mosaic icon of St. Theodore Stratelates (10th century AD) is one of the most remarkable pieces of the Bulgarian art during the period of the First Bulgarian Empire. The icon is made of 12 cm tall, glazed, square ceramic tiles representing the bust of the saint. For the time being this is the only ceramic icon of this size.
- Ticha dam-lake, the third largest dam-lake in Bulgaria, lies 10 km away from the town of Veliki Preslav. It is stocked with various kinds of fish such as: Common Bream, Carp, Wels Catfish, Carassuis, Common Rudd, Flathead Mullet, Zander. The largest fish to ever be caught there in particular and in Bulgaria in general was a 112 kg heavy and 254 cm long Wels Catfish.
Sources: www.liternet.bg, www.wikipedia.org, http://velikipreslav.bg
Pictures: Mirela, internet