It is now one of Sofia's poshest neighbourhoods, but it used to be a village on the outskirts of the capital
In the early 20th century the locals wanted to knock down their old church, which they considered too small and mouldy, and erect a new, modern structure in its place. Queen Eleonora, the second wife of the Bulgarian King Ferdinand, stepped in the way. She organised the sponsorship of an entirely new building on condition the old, crumbling one would be preserved. It was. It is now an UNESCO world heritage site as it contains some of Bulgaria's early clerical art that broke with the Church canon – according to historians and critics, well before Giotto.
Eleonora died in 1917 and was buried in the yard of the church she had helped to save. Her remains were dug out post-1944 for fear the tomb might become a place of pilgrimage.
Where in Bulgaria are you?
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