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Saint George’s Church in Arbanasi

St George's Church in Arbanasi

St George’s Church in Arbanasi

The Church of Saint George, or Sveti Georgi in Bulgarian, is located at the southwester part of the historical village of Arbanasi, 5 minutes from Veliko Tarnovo. It is a massive stone building  sized 21 x 10 metres, with a two-slope roof. It has a single nave and apse, with a narthex to the west and a gallery to the north.

Built at the end of 17th & beginning of 18th centuries, the church has kept its authentic look. An inscription above the door on the western naos reads that the frescoes were painted in 1709-1710 “by the hands of teachers Hristo and Stoyo”. The frescoes were painted on the walls of the naos (the central space in front of the altar) and on the eastern wall of the narthex (the westernmost transverse part of an Orthodox Church).

The iconographic cycles presented are those of the Great Christian Holidays, the Passions of Christ and the Post-Easter Cycle.

Archaeological and architectural surveys have revealed that within the current naos and earlier temple existed. It consisted of an altar, naos and narthex under a single massive vault and was built in the second part of the 16th century. In the mid-seventies of the 20th century the Italian restorer Sergio Pigazzini removed the frescoes and the church remained closed for decades.

In 2009 the Ministry of Culture initiated a project for restoration and preservation of St George’s Church, funded with EU funds. 200 sqm of the original frescoes were restored and reapplied to the church walls. The church yard was also renovated.

The church is now open for visitors and included in the tourist route, following the late medieval Arbanasi churches.

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