Two Late Medieval Newly Discovered Churches in Sofia: Archaeological Research and Monumental Wall Painting Cover Image
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Две новооткрити късносредновековни църкви в София: археологическо проучване и монументална живопис
Two Late Medieval Newly Discovered Churches in Sofia: Archaeological Research and Monumental Wall Painting

Author(s): Vladimir Tsvetkov, Snezhana Goryanova
Subject(s): Archaeology
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: Since the adoption of Christianity as the official religion Sofia has been a city that followed the Christian tradition, regardless of any political changes. Although from the 15 c. on the appearance of Sofia gained in oriental features with the multitude of minarets of new mosques or of churches turned into mosques, the Bulgarian population continued to keep their religious traditions. Downtown, in the territory of the former ancient for- tress and its immediate surroundings, developed Bulgarian neighborhoods and small Christian churches were built, which functioned in the course of several centuries. In the area concerned there are more than a dozen of them. Most of these, though no longer existing, are identified and known by the names of their patron saints. Parts of two of these churches, together with their adjacent cemeteries (necropoli), were discovered during an archaeological survey in Sofia in 2010. They bear the signs of the mod- est late medieval architecture in the conditions of a foreign national and religious domination, but impress with their rich mural decoration. Indicative of the effort to consolidate the Chris- tianity are the repeated interior reconstructions and reorganizations and the renovation of the murals. The study of the painted mural decoration of the two newly discovered churches began in March 2010 and its main task was to determine the quality and quantity of the fragmentary preserved original. Only after that an overall concept for exhibition should be worked out, which had to be consistent with the construction context of the metro station. Through the executed stratigraphic analyses six painting periods in “Church No 1” and two periods in “Church No 2” were found. This rich pictorial life of the churches gave good reasons to undertake detachment of the mural paintings from the wall and treatment of the detached fragments. The working plan included also lifting and temporary dis- placement of the architectural structures with provided taking them back in situ when the metro construction works are completed. The activities ensuring the successful detachment of the murals were as follows: removing late white plasters, which covered the paintings; facing the painting surface with a protection layer; cutting to form fragments according to a previously drawn scheme; stratifying the separate painting periods, and moving the detached fragments to a conservation studio for further treatment. Two thirds of the detached murals have been treated so far. After the restoration activities are completely accomplished part of the murals will be mounted back on the original architec- tural structures, which are to be exhib- ited in the Antique Cultural and Com- munication Centre „Serdika”.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 44-47
  • Page Count: 4
  • Language: Bulgarian