Madara Horseman (Madara Rider) Relief Hotels & Tourist Information
The rock relief "Madara Rider" is an unusual and the only one of its kind in Europe monument dated to the early Middle Ages. It is in the north-eastern part of the country, only twenty kilometers from the town of Shumen, near the village of Madara. The relief was cut in a vertical rock at twenty-three meters height during the eighth century. The relief has measures of 2.6 meters in height and is 3.1 meters wide at its base. This unique masterpiece comprises a life-size rider, a lion, a dog, and some Greek inscriptions. There are and some maintains saying there is a cut snake either, but way too effaced.
With his right hand, the horseman has thrown a spear with a flag at the lion lying beneath the horse's front legs. The man’s right foot is put in a stirrup and there is also a dog, running behind the horse. The image is considered to show and honour the victorious khan Tervel. The details of Madara Horseman bring to mind its likely Proto-Bulgarian origin. The ancient inscriptions, which are written in Greek, are there to announce various events during the eighth and ninth centuries in Bulgarian-Byzantine relationships under the authority of the khans Khormisosh, Omurtag and khan Tervel.
On the ledge in left of the rock relief are placed ruins of buildings from various ages - a court, proto-Bulgarian pagan sanctuary, small churches and monasteries.
The Madara Rider is a solemn symbol of the Bulgarian identity, bearing the first mention of their name. Although it is not completely deciphered, the Madara Horseman is presumed to portray the victorious khan Tervel. The details of the monument correspond to the thesis of the proto-Bulgarian origin of the relief and the texts concern events in Bulgarian-Byzantium history. One of them regards the proclamation of khan Tervel as a Ceasar by Emperor Justinian II - a unique event in Byzantine history.
A staircase with 386 stairs cut in the rock goes up to the Madara plateau and to the fortress.
The Madara Horseman has always been enveloped in mystic - even as early as the proto-Bulgarians sacrificed oblational animals on the altar below. Most likely is the name Madara to mean holy mountain or holy rock.
In the bottom of the cave lies a huge stone with three engraved cross. Not only people with especial sensibility, but almost everyone could feel the warmth of the stone which recovers body's energy. Interesting is and the stone with the circle wall round it for which the ancient people believed that if they wear a little piece from it along, it will protect them from pain, infirmity and evil spirits.
As the only bas-relief in Europe dating from the early Middle Ages, the Madara Rider has no analog. The Madara Rider has been listed in the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List of UNESCO in 1979 in Luxor, Egypt. A national inquiry in 2008 labels it as a Bulgarian global symbol.
If you have the patience and courage to climb up the 368 twisting rock steps on the Madara Plateau you will reach the Madara Fortress. It is a naturally protected place approachable only from the North where a fortified wall has been built. The stronghold has a triangle form with high walls of carved rock. Inside a small church and three four quadrangular premises were found.