Prof Nikolai Ovcharov
Bulgarian archaeologists found unique frescoes dating from the 15th century in the Saints Petar and Pavel church in the city of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) said on June 29 2011.
Eighteen fragments depicting saints were found at a depth of 1.5 metres. A depiction of Saint George was very well preserved.
The frescoes' colours were also very well-preserved. Parchment written in Old Bulgarian had also been recovered.
The team headed by Professor Nikolai Ovcharov and Professor Hitko Vachev discovered the fresco ensemble from the first part of 15th century while they were excavating the yard of the church, built during the Middle Ages.
The frescoes depict religious figures, saints and scenes from ecumenical councils.
Ovcharov said that the frescoes, the church's original decoration, had been buried in graves in the yard.
"Perhaps, the frescoes fell down after a strong earthquake in 16th century", prof Vachev said.
Ovcharov said that when a church had to be repaired during the Middle Ages, the broken frescoes had been buried in a religious ceremony.
Frescoes from the 13th and 16th centuries were also found in the church during other excavations.
The SS Petar and Pavel church in Veliko Turnovo was built by Bulgarian Tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207).
After the restoration of the frescoes, they will be put on display in Turnovo's Archaeological museum.