The Deaf Stones Thracian Sanctuary, Haskovo region
The Deaf Stones rock sanctuary shrine is one of the largest Thracian cult monuments. It includes several large rock blocks with deep gorges cut in. At the foot of one of the blocks a rock tomb chamber is carved. A bed and a small niche are cut in the eastern part of the rock chamber. There are traces of a second unfinished tomb to the side. In the rock block to the east, a staircase is carved which leads to the summit with a well-shaped pool. The remaining three rocky peaks are dotted with more than 200 religious cult rock niches.
The location of the sanctuary seems to have been selected very carefully – the nature around is extremely beautiful and awesome, and the site offers excellent views to all directions of the world. The ancient inhabitants of the Rhodopes perceived the looming up above the surrounding terrain, the rock formations as were sacred. For the Thracians, the height of the rock symbolized the ritual act of the transition from everyday life to the scared. The one who rises by climbing up the stairs of the sanctuary leading to heaven ceased to be a man – reaching the top of the peak and touched by the first rays of the sun, the priest – clergyman transpired and dispersed into another, new and clean space…The Assumption is the largest rural church in Bulgaria. It combines in an amazing way various elements of Christianity and Islam. Built initially as a Christian temple, in 1593 it was destroyed by the Ottoman Empire. A mosque was erected in its place – it was a part of a large estate of caravan seraglio, which according to the chronicles-writers resembled a fortress, whose central entrance is preserved until the present days. In the early 20th century the Turkish government returned the property back to Bulgaria and the reconstruction of the mosque into a church began at that time.
In 2007 the church was thoroughly reconstructed by the Haskovo Municipality. During the restoration works two medieval inscriptions in Arabic on religious-philosophical topics were discovered, but these latter inscriptions have not yet been accurately dated. All the icons and frescoes were restored. The Tryavna painter Master Darin Bozhkov carved a new iconostasis, which by its size ranks among the three biggest and most impressive ones in the country. The windows were decorated with fascinating stained glass works, depicting scenes from the life of the Mother of God.
In the last century, the Assumption church in the village of Uzundjovo was proclaimed to be a cultural heritage monument.
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