Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, Varna
The decision to build The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin in Varna was made during the reign of Prince (Knyaz) Alexander I Battenberg, shortly after the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. At that time Varna was a fast growing city with a constantly increasing population, and there was an urgent need for a new prayer temple with a representative appearance. The famous architect Maas from Odessa was commissioned to design the future cathedral.
The master from Varna Yanko Kostandi, known for his work on the construction of the church “St. Nicholas”, and later, in 1884, the famous church builder Gencho Kanev from Genchevtsi, near Tryavna, were entrusted with the task of building the cathedral.
On August 22, 1880, two and a half years after Bulgaria became an independent country, Knyaz Alexander I Battenberg solemnly placed the first stone of the church. The construction took six years to complete, and most of the funds were collected thanks to generous donations.
For the construction itself were mainly used local materials, although some of them were brought from other parts of Bulgaria or even imported from other European countries.
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin was completed in 1886, and the first service was held on August 30. It quickly became the symbol and biggest tourist attraction in the Sea Capital of Bulgaria.
The name of the temple was chosen to honor the memory of the Russian empress Maria Alexandrovna, died on June 8, 1880.
Built in the traditional Russian style similar to the temple in Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Varna Cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful in the Balkans, and everyone admires the beauty of its stately stone facade.
Even when the magnificent stone cathedral was completed, most finishes still remained to be done. For example, in 1897 was added a beautiful bishop’s throne manufactured by Nico Mavrodi.
In 1901, a few years later, as a gift from Russia were brought 3 large and 42 small icons that changed the interior of the church beyond recognition.
The interior balcony was built in the second decade of the 20th century, and during the period between 1941 and 1943 was constructed the highest section of the temple – the impressive 38 meters high bell tower.
Soon after, in 1949, started painting the church. The next big change took place in the 60s when were made the windows of stained glass with the images of the Saints Cyril and Methodius and their students – Clement and Angelari.
Nowadays The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin continues to renew its beauty. The temple welcomed the new millennium with golden domes and restored frescoes.