Church „Sveta Nedelya”phone: 032 623 270
Church „Sveta Nedelya”
The temple dedicated to Saint Nedelya was built in the early XVII century. It was with small dimensions and unassuming architecture but with richly decorated iconostasis.
In 1829 the old building of Saint Nedelya was demolished and a temporary chapel was built, dedicated to St. Athanasius at first and later to the holy Blessed Virgin. The iconostasis of the old church was mounted in it.
The new St. Nedelya church was intended as one of the largest and most spacious Renaissance churches on Bulgarian lands. It was built by builders from Bratzigovo with chief master Petko Petkov – Boz.
The temple of St. Nedelya is an imposing three-nave pseudo-basilica with a three-apse altar. The three naves are separated by six pairs of wooden columns. Their capitals are decorated in relief and bear arches with typical basculating line. The average nave is provided with a semi-cylindrical vault and the side ones are covered with flat wooden ceiling, decorated with carving. The anteroom after the main entrance bears the second floor – emporia, used as a female ward in the XIX century, and now as a balcony for the church choir.
The workmanship of the iconostasis was probably assigned (about 1832-1833) to Yane Spirov. The famous Debar masters, Makrii Negriev Frckovski, and his brothers, Gyurchin and Trayan, executed the embossment of the column capitals – a fine art work similar to sculpting.
The majority of the icons were painted by Dimitar Hristov Zograph and his son Zafir, later known by the pseudonym Stanislav Dospevski.
Frescoes from 1871 are preserved in the temple. They can be seen on the eastern wall of the altar and in medallions, located high between the arches of the columns. On the west wall under the balcony, on both sides of the entrance, were found two mural panels depicting St. George and St. Dimitar /Demetrius/ in the typical iconography of horsemen warriors.
St. Nedelya was consecrated on September 19, 1832 from the Plovdiv Metropolitan Nicephorus. The first unsuccessful attempt to introduce ministration in Bulgarian language instead of Greek was made there in 1860. The fight continued after the Liberation until it succeeded. On March 18, 1893 the Plovdiv Metropolitan Nathanael held the first bishop liturgy in Bulgarian language.
In 1894 some architectural changes and additions were made. The big dome was erected then. Its height reaches 16 meters above floor level. The antechamber is closed and glazed, and the west wall of the temple inside and over the balcony is entirely decorated. The construction was completed in 1905.
There is a large yard with garden adjacent to the St. Nedelya church. The buildings there form an architectural complex in harmonious connection in terms of styles. At the large garden gate rises the old eclessiastical house built along with the temple. The priests and sextons lived in it, and some of the rooms were often adapted for school purposes, where the famous Bulgarian enlightener Yoakim Gruev studied in 1846.
Open for visitation: 8:00 – 18:00