The medieval fortress Tsepina is located northwest of Dorkovo, at the northeastern end of the valley, on a high, rocky conical peak of the Karkariya ridge on Batak Mountain, at 1136 m. The peak is surrounded by the Metoshko dere ravine to the east, to the west – from the Kostin Dol ravine and to the north – from the Karkariyskoto dere ravine. It can only be accessed from the south, where at the foot of the fortress was the ancient city. The first written record of the Tsepina fortress is from 1220. It is a letter of endowment (sigilium) from Despot Alexiy Slav to the monastery “Virgin Mary” in the town of Melnik. It is kept in the monastery of Vatoped on Mount Athos (Sacred Mountain). Alexiy Slav writes In a letter that it had the Tsepina fortress as its first headquarters, and then Melnik.
The royal city in Byzantine sources is called “Tsepayna.”
Some authors put forward arguments in favor of naming it Chepina, but in the tourism literature Tsepina is used. The outer walls cover an area of 25 acres, and at the top has been built a medieval castle on an area of 1.5 acres. Its walls are preserved up to the height of 2.5 meters. The outer walls are preserved up to the height of three meters, with a thickness of 1.80 m. The inner wall of the citadel has a thickness of 1.80 to 2.20 m.
In the fortress have been discovered and studied the remains of three churches and four deep deposits of water (cisterns), reaching a depth of 10 meters. From one of the churches come the reliefs of two marble altars of the Apostles Peter and Paul, consigned and exhibited now in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg. The foundations of the internal and external walls, as well as the foundations of the churches and the four water reservoirs are preserved and attract many tourists.
During the Middle Ages Tsepina is one of the most famous fortresses in Rhodope. It enters the State of Bulgaria in the middle of the ninth century. During the 11th century it was conquered by Byzantium, but during the reign of Tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207) Tsepina returned again within the Bulgarian state. When Kaloyan appointed his nephew Alejo Eslava to be the governor of the Rhodopes, Tsepina became the seat of the possessions of the despot. After the assassination of Tsar Kaloyan in 1207, Despot Alexiy Slav declared himself independent. In the period 1246 -. 1254 Tsepina is under the domination of the Nikea emperor John Doukas Vatatsiy, but Michael II Asen managed to recover it. In 1373 the fortress has been conquered by the Ottomans.
- Categoryfortresses, observation decks, Other museums
- By Nikolai Vuchev
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