The Madara Horseman
The only monumental stone relief in Europe, dated from the beginning of VIII century. It is hewn into sheer cliffs at a height of 23 metres on the north-west slope of the Madara plateau. The relief presents a horseman who has speared a lion, together with a dog following the horse. The image conveys a simbolic significance. It is a scene of triumph, incarnating the grandeur of the Bulgarian ruler and the power of the Bulgarian state. Two interlaced artistic traditions can be observed in the portrayal - the tabular and ornamental representation of animal figures, characteristic of the East and the antique tradition of plastic art, typical of the Mediterranean. The relief is surrounded by three engraved inscriptions, written in Greek. This rocky chronicle can be regarded a reflection of important political events, resulting from the Bulgarian-Byzantine relations in the VIII-IX century. This is where the name ’Bulgarian’ appears for the first time as compared to all other known Bulgarian monuments.
The relief is situated 1,5 km east of Madara.
It was announced a UNESCO monument in 1979.
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