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The Poster Exhibition “The Invisible Traces of Murfatlar” at the National Archaeological Museum


The poster exhibition “The Invisible Traces of Murfatlar” is presented at the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The exhibition displays the discoveries related to the homonymous rock monastery in Northern Dobrudja and includes twelve posters with Bulgarian and English information. The tables are situated in the gallery “Orthodox Art” on the second floor of the Museum and can be seen there till 22nd September 2024.

“The Invisible Traces of Murfatlar’’ summarizes the results of the archaeological excavation carried out in 2021 – 2023 г. by a team of NAIM_BAS, in the medieval rock monastery near the village of Murfatlar, Constanța region, Romania. The research has been initiated because of the danger from the demolishing of the site under the influence of natural processes. The head of the project is Associated Professor D-r Eugenia Komatarova–Balinova. The team comprises specialists from seven scientific institutions from Bulgaria and abroad. The project is funded by the National Scientific Program “Development and Recognition of Bulgarian Studies Abroad”, and partially supported by NAIM-BAS.

The Rock Monastery of Murfatlar is a monument with national significance. It is situated in the heart of the historical-geographical region of Dobrudja which once stayed in the center of the First Bulgarian Empire. The complex is located 16 km west of the town of Constanța. It was discovered in 1957 when the research started. It covers an area of ten decares and comprises four churches, two chapels, two crypts, four galleries, a rock niche, and a water reservoir.

The main goal of the scientific research was a full documentation of the most important and threatened sections of the monastery. Within the frame of the expedition, three laser scannings have been performed, 3-D models of the site have been made, and more than 500 graffiti have been found, including 132 inscriptions which is twice more than their previous number. The inscriptions are made using the four graphic systems of Early Medieval Bulgaria: runes, Glagolithic, Cyrillic, and Greek. The scientists share the opinion that this is the biggest stone library in Early Medieval Europe. The traditional dating of the functioning of the site within the period the end of 9th c. – the beginning of 11th c. has been changed and the upper chronological limit goes to the 12th c. It should be noted that the last inscription there was made in 14th c. This is the most serious and professional recording of the complex till this very moment.