Walking along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, you can not help but notice the "St. St. Konstantin and Elena " church, situated near the Hisar Kapia. The temple combines art, history, culture and religion. Find out its secrets in the best Plovdiv Guide.
The Christian center is one of the oldest in the city under the hills. The first sanctuary was founded in 4th century, and legend says that in the same place back in 304th, the martyrs Severian and Memenos have been beheaded because they’ve confessed Christian faith. It is estimated that another 38 people have died there for preaching Christianity.
According to archaeologists, the first temple, located on the site of today's church "St. St. Konstantin and Elena "was erected in the middle of the 4th century, and the name comes from the moment when emperor Constantine began to be portrayed as a saint on parchment sheets. Then the believers decided to dedicate the temple of him and his mother Elena.
After Bulgaria fell under Ottoman rule, the place remained only a small wooden church without dome and bell tower because the construction of tall Christian spiritual and religious centers was forbidden. The church was destroyed and renovated many times, but never stop working. Between 15th and 19th century it housed Parochial School.
The construction of the new church is due to two famous men. They are Valko Chalakov and Todor Moravenov. Moravenov was determined to restore the temple and managed to collect 200,000 pennies, which at that time were much money, enough to realize Moravenov goal. This happened in 1810 and 20 years later, Chalakov decided to support the cause. It caused incredible efforts to receipt Sultan's decree which authorizes the construction of such a large Christian church, but his ventures were married with success. The great restoration of the church began in 1832, and in 1836 even got its steeple. The last major renovation was made in 2007 and it only supports the authentic look of the building.
Not only is the church history interesting. It is main religious and architecture resort. It has a large garden and adjoining building where are exposed hand-painted icons from various masters of iconography. In the courtyard of the church complex are buried various prominent Bulgarian personalities, including Valko Chalakov and Todor Moravenov.
The church itself has 4 of 6 rows of icons located on the iconostasis and they are arranged as follows: at the bottom are painted scenes from the fall; above them - royal icons; in the third row are placed icons, dedicated to the Virgin Holidays and the apostles, and at the top you can see depicted the Last Supper. The iconostasis was made by Petko Petkov - Boss, which is believed to be a graduate of Brachigovo school. John Paskulis, Greek graduate makes almost all icons it in the style of Viennese baroque because of his long training in Vienna. The only icons which are not made by him are the king’s ones. They are the work of Stanislav Dospevski and Zahari Zograf.
True incarnation of art is the naos of the church. In it are depicted scenes of paradise that show baptized what awaits them after mortal life if they are righteous. In the right side of the church you can see St. Konstantin displayed at the Battle of Rome. For unbaptized is designed the so-called nartis or also known as narthex and an anteroom. There are scenes from hell, who can make almost every believer shiver of amazing paintings on the walls. The murals were painted by Atanas Gyudzhenov, and his work is preserved in very good shape even today.
We left the most curious fact for last – the sanctuary has two floors. The first is called emporia and it has been designed just for women. In the past was unthinkable men and women to come together to church. Therefore was built a second wooden floor. Women climbed a narrow, winding, wooden staircase that you can see entering the temple. It is located on the left side of the nave. You can go upstairs and look at all the splendor of the building. In a glance you fall not only in the spirit of the place, but also in the history and culture of our venerable city. Just a gaze is enough to leave a mark in you forever. We recommend this experience.