Itinerary 2 – Temples of Ruse

The Holy Trinity Church . This oldest church in Ruse was constructed in 1632. It is a 15,60×31,20m three-nave pseudobasilica dug into the ground. The graves of four bishops of the Diocese of Dorostol and Cherven are in the narthex. There are two interesting inscriptions on both sides of the cathedral staircase. The first one is the gravestone of Father Danail, who was a teacher in the church shcool for many years. He died in 1737 in Ruse and his body was buried in the churchyard . His grateful students built his gravestone into the church wall in 1764. The other inscription is on the right side of the staircase . It is also carved into a granite plate and informs about the church reconstruction in 1764.The 17th century wonder working icon of the Holy Mother of God Compassionate is kept in the church.

St. George’s Church is a 14x32m three-nave pseudobasilica dug into the ground. It was constructed in the 17th century and reconstructed into the church as we see it today in 1843 by a master builder from Tryavna. A fragment of the relics of St. George the Victorious is kept in this church. It is in the twon centre, close to the railway station, in the former Goldsmiths Neighbourhood. For about an year now, the services in this church can be seen live on the Internet.

The Church of St Paul of the Cross is Catholic. The first organ in Bulgaria was built in it in 1907. There is a corner in memoriam of the Venerable Bishop Evgeniy Bosilkov. The church was constructed in 1890 in the neoclassicism style designed by the Italian architect Valentino. It is close to the riverside street.

The Armenian Church of the Holy Mother of God ( Surp Astvadzadzun) was constructed in the 17th century over an earlier church. There are gravestones of priests and community members in the yard. The oldest gravestones are from then 18th century. They are an evidence of the long urban life in Ruse. The northern wall of the church fence is from the Late Middle Ages, with graffiti in Armenian on the tons.

The Mosque of Said Pasha was built in 1876, on Samuil Street1, on the corner with Nikolaevska Street. The building is with an arched roof typical of the style of the Revival (Levantian baroque). In it, there is a hair of the beard of the Prophet Mohamed which is taken out for ceremony of Saklli.

Rock Monastery St. Dimitar Basarbovski  The Monastery of St. Dimitar Basarbovski by the village of Basarbovo 12 km from Ruse. The name of the village comes from the name of Ivanko Basarba- King Ivan Aleksandar’s father-in-law. The King gave the monastery and the village that supported it as a dowry.The Wallachian rusers kept the monastery in their ownership even after the Ottoman invasion. Supposedly, when the two sons of the Voivode Vlas II Dracul- Radu and Vlad III- were young, they stayed as hostages in the monastery to guarantee that the peace would be kept.According to the local legends, Dimitar was a simple herdasman. One day, he crushed a bird nest under his foot while tending the village herd. That was considered a big sin. Therefore, penitent Dimitar became a monk to redeem that sin and lived a lonely and righteous life till the end of his days. After he passed away, flooding eater took his body in the river. When his relics ware taken out  of the water, they started to do miricles: St. Dimitar healed people and protected the village against hail. The  monastery is 2 km east of the village. In 1769, General Saltikov took the relics from here during the Russian-Turkish War. The Bulgarians in Bucharest ardently asked him to leave the relics in Wallachia, and so he did. Today they are in the Patriarch s Cathedral of St. Constantine and Helen in the Romanian capital. In World War One, when Bucharest was occupied bg Bulgarian and German troops, a couple of Bulgarian soldiers from villages around Ruse made an attempt to bring the relics of the saint back to Bulgaria , but they were caught and their attempt failed. Them church high in the rock has a wooden iconostasis made in recent times. However, its construction and the cells around give a certain idea of what the old rock monasteries were like. Today, there are new constructions around the monastery that provide shelter for pilgrims and tourists. Telephone: 082800765.

The church in the village of Krasen. The village of Krasen has existed since Bulgaria was established. There are ancient ruins near the village; a fully accoutred warrior from the period of the First Bulgarian Kingdom (7th – 11thc.) was found under it; sacrificial stone troughs were also found nearby. In the reign of King Ivan Asen II, the future then Patriarch Yoakim I hewed his cell into the rocks above Krasen. Later, supported by the King, he founded St. Archangel Michael’s Monnastery by the village of Ivanovo.  The village cgyrcg of Krasen is ona of the few constructed in the 17th century. Nearly all other village churches in the Lom River Valley were constructed in the 19th century. It is a single nave church made of stone that had been as gravestones. Numerous inscriptions and graffiti can be seen oytside on the church walls. Some of them keep the historical memory of the village, as they were made by priests and teachers. One of them- Nikola pop Lazar from Elena- copied the first book of Bulgarian history written by Paisiy of Hilendar.

The Rock-hewn Churces of Ivanovo. There are hundreds of rock churches in the Rusenski Lom River Valley. The ones in the Pismata, area by the village of Ivanovo are part of an archaeological reserve and are protected by UNESCO. The churches belonged to the Monastery of St. Archangel Michael. The monastery was constructed by Bulgarian Kings. It was started by King Ivan Asen II. King Ivan Aleksandar  dinished it. The grave of King Georgi Terter is here. The  portrays of two Bulgarian queens are also preserved: the two wives of King Ivan Akensandar, The Wallachian Teodora and the Jew Theodra.