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Madara Rider

Madara Horseman
(Madarski konnik)

(8th - 9th century)

The only one of its kind in Europe, the magnificent bas-relief is cut into the sheer rock at a height of 23 m. A horseman can be seen followed by a dog and a lion pierced by a spear, in their natural size. The composition is comparable to the East Iran triumph scenes and the Ancient traditions as well. The details speak in favour of the Bulgarian origin of the bas-relief.

There is a supposition that the relief reflects khan Tervel as a winner. The Greek inscriptions give information about the events which occured in Bulgaria and Byzantium in that period.

The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high cliff near the village of Madara in north-east Bulgaria. Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria's conversion to Christianity in the 9th century. The inscriptions beside the sculpture tell of events that occurred between A.D. 705 and 801.

The Madara Rider

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