Preslav was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

 from 893 to 972 and one of the most important cities of medieval Southeastern Europe. The ruins of the city are situated in modern northeastern Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, some 20 kilometres southwest of the regional capital of Shumen
Shumen is the tenth-largest city in Bulgaria and capital of Shumen Province. In the period 1950–1965 it was called Kolarovgrad, after the name of the communist leader Vasil Kolarov...

, and are currently a national archaeological reserve.

The modern Veliki Preslav is a town and the seat of government of the municipality (obshtina) of the same name
Veliki Preslav Municipality
Veliki Preslav Municipality is a municipality in Shumen Province, Northeastern Bulgaria, located in the area of the so called Fore-Balkan north of the eastern part of Stara planina mountain...

, which in turn is part of Shumen Province
Shumen Province
-Religion:Religious adherence in the province according to 2001 census:-Transportation:Shumen lies on the main route between Varna and Sofia and is served by numerous trains and buses serving the city. The city is also very well connected with Istanbul which serves the large Turkish community in...

. A former village, it assumed the name of the medieval capital in 1878 and became a town in 1883. As of December 2009, it has a population of 8,951 inhabitants.

The town lies at 43°10′N 26°49′E, 92 m above sea level.


The name of Preslav is of Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 origin; apparently it was initially founded and functioned as a Slavic settlement until its fortification at the beginning of the 9th century. The proximity to the then Bulgarian capital of Pliska
Pliska is the name of both the first capital of Danubian Bulgaria and a small town which was renamed after the historical Pliska after its site was determined and excavations began....

 led to the fast development and expansion of Preslav during the reign of the Khans Krum and Omurtag. By the time of the coronation of Khan Boris I
Boris I of Bulgaria
Boris I, also known as Boris-Mihail and Bogoris was the Knyaz of First Bulgarian Empire in 852–889. At the time of his baptism in 864, Boris was named Michael after his godfather, Emperor Michael III...

 in 852, Preslav had turned into an important strategic military centre and was the seat of the Ichirgu-boil
The Ichirgu-boil or Chargobilya was a high-ranking official in the First Bulgarian Empire. He was the commander of the garrison of the capital and was the third most important person in the state after the ruler and the Kavkhan. In peace-time the ichirgu-boil had diplomatic functions...

. A number of churches were built in the city after the conversion of the Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

 to Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in 864.

The pagan revolt of the Pliska
Pliska is the name of both the first capital of Danubian Bulgaria and a small town which was renamed after the historical Pliska after its site was determined and excavations began....

 nobility led by Prince Vladimir
Vladimir of Bulgaria
Vladimir-Rasate was the ruler of Bulgaria from 889 to 893.He became ruler of Bulgaria when his father Boris-Mihail I decided to retire to a monastery after a reign of 36 years...

 in 892 was decisive for the future destiny of the city. In 893 Vladimir was dethroned and during the Council of Preslav
Council of Preslav
The People's Council of Preslav took place in 893. It was among the most important events in the history of the First Bulgarian Empire and was a cornerstone of the Christianization of Bulgaria under prince Boris I.-Background and sources:...

 Boris I, pointed Simeon the Great
Simeon I of Bulgaria
Simeon I the Great ruled over Bulgaria from 893 to 927, during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines, Magyars and Serbs led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion ever, making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern Europe...

 as his successor and decided to move the capital of the state from the still somewhat pagan Pliska to Preslav. In the following 80 years the city developed rapidly, turning into a centre not only of Bulgarian politics and diplomacy, but also of culture, literature and the fine arts. A chronicler mentioned that it took Simeon 28 years to establish and build up his new capital. Archeological excavations have, however, proved that the city continued to develop also during the 930s and 940s and reached the peak in its growth and magnificence in the middle of the rule of Tsar Peter I of Bulgaria
Peter I of Bulgaria
Peter I was emperor of Bulgaria from 27 May 927 to 969.-Early reign:Peter I was the son of Simeon I of Bulgaria by his second marriage to Maria Sursuvul, the sister of George Sursuvul. Peter had been born early in the 10th century, but it appears that his maternal uncle was very influential at...


In view of the impressive town planning, the vital economy and the grandeur of buildings like the Round Church
Round Church, Preslav
The Round Church , also known as the Golden Church or the Church of St John , is a large partially preserved early medieval Eastern Orthodox church. It lies in Preslav, the former capital of the First Bulgarian Empire, today a town in northeastern Bulgaria...

 and the Royal Palace, Preslav was a true rival of the largest and most important city centres in the western hemisphere. Culturally, it was the centre of the Preslav Literary School
Preslav Literary School
The Preslav Literary School was the first literary school in the medieval Bulgarian Empire. It was established by Boris I in 885 or 886 in Bulgaria's capital, Pliska...

 which was founded in Pliska in 886 and was moved to Preslav along with the rest of the court in 893. The greatest Bulgarian writers from the Old Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 period worked in Preslav, among them John Exarch
John Exarch
John Exarch was a medieval Bulgarian scholar, writer and translator, one of the most important men of letters working at the Preslav Literary School at the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century. Evidence about his life is scarce but his literary legacy suggests an excellent...

, Constantine of Preslav
Constantine of Preslav
Constantine of Preslav was a medieval Bulgarian scholar, writer and translator, one of the most important men of letters working at the Preslav Literary School at the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century. Biographical evidence about his life is scarce but he is believed to have...

, Chernorizets Hrabar
Chernorizets Hrabar
Chernorizets Hrabar was a Bulgarian monk, scholar and writer who worked at the Preslav Literary School at the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century, developing Medieval Bulgarian literature and spreading Old Church Slavonic.- Name :...

. It was probably around the Preslav Literary School that the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 developed in middle of the 10th century. The city had also large ceramic workshops which produced art ceramics, glazed tiles, as well as ceramic icons and iconostases.

The city's fortune underwent a dramatic downturn at the end of the 960s, when it was occupied by Kievan Prince Sviatoslav
Sviatoslav I of Kiev
Sviatoslav I Igorevich ; , also spelled Svyatoslav, was a prince of Rus...

. The ensuing war between Ruthenians and Byzantines left the city burnt and ravaged by the army of Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimisces. The conquerors took away the treasury, the Bulgarian Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

's regalia and a large part of the library of Simeon. Although the city did not lose its importance in the next three hundred years, the neighbouring outskirts and the big monasteries became desolate, the economy lost its vitality and significance.

Preslav regained some of its importance in Bulgarian politics during the first years of the joint rule of the founders of the Second Bulgarian Empire
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396 . A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century...

, Peter IV of Bulgaria
Peter IV of Bulgaria
Peter IV ruled as emperor of Bulgaria 1185–1197. Together with his brother Asen he managed to restore the Bulgarian Empire after nearly 170 years of Byzantine domination.-Name:...

 and Ivan Asen I
Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria
Ivan Asen I ruled as emperor of Bulgaria 1189–1196. The year of his birth is unknown.-Life:...

. Apparently, Ivan Asen ruled from the centre of the uprising, Tarnovgrad, whereas his brother and co-ruler Theodore Peter resided in Preslav as a symbol of the renewed statehood of Bulgaria. The strategic advantages of Tarnovgrad were, however, decisive in the long run and the significance of Preslav waned in the course of the 13th century. The Tatar raids during the 1270s drove away the last citizens of Preslav, along with the protothroned bishop of the city. Some of the surviving refugees built up a village of the same name only two kilometres north from the fortress where the contemporary town of Veliki Preslav is now situated.

Preslav Crag
Preslav Crag
Preslav Crag is a sharp peak rising to approx. 600 m in Friesland Ridge, Tangra Mountains, eastern Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica...

 on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands
South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands, lying about north of the Antarctic Peninsula, with a total area of . By the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the Islands' sovereignty is neither recognized nor disputed by the signatories and they are free for use by any signatory for...

, Antarctica is named after Preslav.


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