Remnants of a church estimated to date from the end of the First Bulgarian Kingdom – about the 11th century – have been found at the Misionis fortress site near Turgovishte in north-eastern Bulgaria.
Also found were fragments of frescoes. Dig team head Professor Nikolai Ovcharov said that he believed that the building was the personal chapel of the bishop of the ancient city.
Misionis is believed to have been the capital of the Roman province of the same name in about the fourth to fifth centuries. It was destroyed by Ottoman invaders in the 14th-15th centuries.
Ovcharov said that given the frescoes that had been found as the church was uncovered in recent days, it was hoped that images of saints also would be found.
Archaeologist Angel Konakliev told Bulgarian National Television said that mortar had been used to construct the church and it had been laid with tiles, brought to the location from elsewhere. Its entire floor had been paved.
Visitors to the site may now see the baptistery that was found at the Misionis site in 2018. The baptismal font has been covered with a transparent protective covering to protect it from the weather.
Turgovishte mayor Darin Dimitrov said: “It is important not only to carry out excavations, but also to preserve the finds for all the generations to come”.
A sum of 50 000 leva (about 25 000 euro) has been provided by Turgovishte municipality and donors for the summer 2019 archaeological dig season as Misionis.
In 2018, a bishop’s residence, estimated to date from the fifth century, was found at the Misionis site.
Previous excavations have uncovered the remains of fortress walls of about three to four metres in height, the remains of a large Christian church, a guardroom and residential buildings. Also found at the site were Roman ceramics and ancient burial places.