Madara Rider

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Madara Rider
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
The Madara Rider
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii
Reference 43
UNESCO region Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1979 (3rd Session)
A wider view of the rock with Madara Rider

The Madara Rider or Madara Horseman (Bulgarian: Мадарски конник, Madarski konnik) is an early medieval large rock relief carved on the Madara Plateau east of Shumen in northeastern Bulgaria, near the village of Madara. The monument is dated to about 710 AD and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.

The relief depicts a majestic horseman 23 m (75 ft) above ground level in an almost vertical 100 m (328 ft)-high cliff. The horseman, facing right, is thrusting a spear into a lion lying at his horse's feet. An eagle is flying in front of the horseman and a dog is running after him. The scene symbolically depicts a military triumph. The monument was created during the rule of the Bulgar Khan Tervel, and is probably a portrayal of the khan himself. Other theories connect the relief with the ancient Thracians, claiming it portrays a Thracian god.


Three partially preserved texts in Medieval Greek, carved in the rock, can be found around the image of the rider. They bear important information regarding the history of Bulgaria in the period. According to Professor Veselin Beshevliev and his book Protobulgarians, the oldest inscription is the work of Tervel (695-721 AD), thus the relief has also been created during his rule. The other inscriptions refer to the khans Krum (796-814 AD) and Omurtag (814-831 AD) and were most likely carved on their order. The texts of the inscriptions after Professor Veselin Beshevliev (translated from Bulgarian publication Веселин Бешевлиев, "Първобългарски надписи", Издателство на Българската академия на науките, София, 1979, стр. 94):

inscription I c

[...] of Bulgars [...] and came to Tervel. My uncles in Thessaloniki region didn't credit to the slit-nosed Emperor and returned to Kisinas [...] his one [...] through treaty the ruler Tervel gave to the Emperor [...] 5 thousand [...] the Emperor together with me won well.

inscription II a and b

[...] gold coins [...] he gave [...] gold coins the ruler [...] soldiers [...] the ruler [...] the Greeks [..] what I gave to you every year, I am going to give you, because you helped me [...] every year we are going to give you and the Emperor sent to the ruler [...] and begged the ruler Kroumesis [...] the ruler [...] when distributed the gold coins [...] they began [...] gave from [...] the ruler Kroumesis gifted [...] this lake [...] you did [...] the ruler [...] broke the treaties [...] war [...] at that time [...] name [...]

inscription III

[...] was fed [...] broke and from the God Omourtag ruler [...] sent [...] help me [...]


The Madara Rider is depicted on the obverse of smaller Bulgarian coins (1 to 50 stotinki) issued in 1999 and 2000.[1] A June 29, 2008, official survey on the design of Bulgaria's future euro coins was won by the Madara Horseman with 25.44 percent of the votes.[2][3][4]

Madara Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the historic site of Madara.


  • [1] Villa Bulgara eco, Kiulevcha village, 5km from Madara Rider


  1. ^ Bulgarian National Bank. Notes and Coins in Circulation: 1999: 1 stotinka, 2 stotinki, 5 stotinki, 10 stotinki, 20 stotinki, 50 stotinki; 2000: 1 stotinka, 2 stotinki & 5 stotinki. – Retrieved on 26 March 2009.
  2. ^ "Bulgaria selected the new eruo design". Info Bulgaria. Archived from the original on 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  3. ^ "Bulgaria Chooses Madara Horseman for National Symbol at Euro Coin Design". Sofia News Agency Novinite. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Bulgaria chooses heritage site to adorn euro coins". EU Business. Retrieved 2008-07-01. [dead link]
  • Stancheva, Magdalina; Totyu Totev (1996). The Madara Horseman. Antos. ISBN 954-8901-06-4. 
  • Racheva, Nataliya. "The Madara Rider" (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2006-07-05. 
  • Vesselin Beschevliev, "Les inscriptions du relief de Madara", Bsl, 16, 1955, p. 212–254 (Medieval Greek, French).
  • Vesselin Beschevliev, "Die protobulgarischen Inschriften", Berlin, 1963 (Medieval Greek, German).
  • Веселин Бешевлиев, "Първобългарски надписи", Издателство на Българската академия на науките, София, 1979 (Medieval Greek, Bulgarian).

External links[edit]

  • [2] Villa Bulgara eco, Kiulevcha village

Coordinates: 43°18′N 27°09′E / 43.300°N 27.150°E / 43.300; 27.150