Madara National Historical & Archaeological Reserve
Madara National Historical & Archaeological Reserve information
Lonely Planet review
This reserve surrounds the so-called Madara Horseman (Madarski Konnik) . Carved into a cliff 23m high, the bas-relief features a mounted figure spearing a lion, followed by a dog.
This early-8th-century creation was made to commemorate the victorious Khan Tervel, and the creation of the First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018). Bulgaria’s only known medieval rock carving, it’s a Unesco heritage site.
At the reserve’s entrance gate, the Madara booklet (2 lv, in English or German) explains the site and gives information on the popular hiking trails to nearby tombs and caves. Since the permanent scaffolding hides more of the bas-relief the closer you get, it’s not necessary to climb up to the figure for the best views.
North of the horseman, a 373-step rock stairway leads to the 130m-high clifftop and the ruined Madara Fortress, built during the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1396). There are sweeping views from above.