Basarabi Cave Complex

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Murfatlar murals exposed in Constanta Museum

Basarabi Cave Complex or Murfatlar Cave Complex is a medieval Christian monastery located near the town of Murfatlar (named Basarabi between 1924–1965 and 1980–2007), Constanţa County, Dobrogea, Romania.

In 1957, a complex of cells-dwellings, small churches, crypts and tombs, used from the 9th until 11th century, was discovered in caves carved into a chalk hill. At that time the territory was under control of the Byzantine Empire[1] and the First Bulgarian Empire. After the fall of this Bulgarian dynasty, the place was abandoned.

There are many inscriptions graved on the walls in Old Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic, some in Greek alphabet some in Turkic runes and some in Romanian.[2] The language of the Slavic texts is Old Bulgarian. The language of the Turkic runes is Proto-Bulgarian, as suggested by Bulgarian scholars[who?], or Turanic, as implied by Romanian scholars[who?]. In fact that may be the same, because the Proto-Bulgarian language most probably is a mix of Turanic and Aryan origin. Some Romanian scholars[who?] questioned the Latin origin of the names such as "Petre" found in the cave. Petre it is a classic Romanian name. It is a derivative from the Greek πέτρα and of the name of Saint Peter[citation needed], which is a widespread Christian name. Others[who?] even look to the possibility of Nordic "Rainpilpe" of inscriptions.[citation needed] Among the drawings on the walls they[who?] see the representations of Viking ships (because the land of Dobrogea was most likely on the trading route between the Vikings' lands and Constantinople). Still, Rainpilpe is not of a known Northern origin, and the low hull banana-shaped keel of the so-called Viking ship resembles also Mediterranean patterns.[citation needed]

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