Name: Мадара. It's also the
name of the nearby village.
Madara is a place in north-east Bulgaria at the edge of the Ludogorsko-Plato plateau not far from the
Provadiyska river, which is flowing into the Black Sea at →Varna.
The closest bigger city is Шумен (Shumen), which is around 18 km to the
west. To →Varna in the east it's around 80 km, to
→Veliko Tarnovo in the west 150 km and to →Ruse in the north-west
it's more than 140 km. Madara is in the middle of nowhere, so to say.
Population: about 1,400
The village and the horseman are not far from each other. The landscape in and around Madara is quite rough -
there's a long and 130 m high striking rock formation, which is where the horseman can be found.
At a time when the Proto-Bulgarians together with Slavic tribes formed the First Bulgarian Empire, the area around present-day
Shumen was the heartland of the empire. At Madara, a fortification system was erected to protect the former
capitals of Preslav and →Pliska. In Madara, ruins from that time -
from the 8th century to the 14th century - are left.
Among those remainings, a stone relief from the early medieval age is the most famous one. It's one of a kind - there's no other
relief from the early medieval age in Europe! The location is somewhat unique - the mounted figure was chiselled into a vertical
wall of stone in a height of 23 metres. The figure itself is 2.85 m high, the length is about the same. It depicts a horseman spearing a
lion (oh yes, those dangerous Bulgarian lions!). It is supposed to be a moment honouring the victories of Khan Tervel.
Greek inscriptions near the figure can be dated back to 705 to 831 AD. Since this relief is really unique, it was declared
world heritage site by the UNESCO.
Madara is halfway on the railway linking →Varna with the capital →Sofia.
So much about the good news. Unfortunately, most trains do not stop in Madara. Therefore it's necessay to get out in
Kaspichan and take alocal train to Madara. There are also regular buses from Shumen and