Journal Epohi
“ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS” UNIVERSITY OF VELIKO TARNOVO - UNIVERSITY PRESS

Machiel Kiel and his View of the Bulgarian Empire on the Eve of the Ottoman Invasion


Authors:
Nikolay Ovcharov Dimitar A. Tsenov Academy of Economics – Svishtov, Bulgaria

Pages: 243-257
DOI: https://doi.org/10.54664/TNFI6044

Abstract:

Machiel Kiel’s attitude towards the culture of the Second Bulgarian Empire was extremely negative. In this regard, he blatantly manipulated and falsified the results of historical and archaeological studies. In his opinion, the Bulgarian cities of the 13th–14th centuries were small and unsightly, the churches were rough and impersonal, and the palaces of the kings were poky and ugly. Kiel told outright lies about the conquest of Bulgaria by the Ottoman Turks in the late 14th century. A careful examination of the available data shows quite a different picture. According to demographic studies of world-renowned academicians, such as P. Bairoch, J. Batou and P. Chèvre, medieval Bulgarian cities ranked among the best developed cities on the Old Continent. Moreover, according to the latest study, the capital of Tarnovgrad was on par with Rouen, the second largest city in France, and the southern capital of Toulouse, and had almost as many inhabitants as Cologne, the capital in the Holy Roman Empire. In Tarnovgrad, a total of 64 Christian churches have been uncovered so far, almost all of which were icon-painted and had marble and ceramic artistic decoration. In comparison, in the early 15th century, there were 53 churches and 19 monasteries in Thessaloniki, the second largest city of the Byzantine Empire.

Keywords:

Second Bulgarian Empire, medieval Bulgarian cities, historical and archaeological studies, churches, icon-painted, marble and ceramic artistic decoration, capital, demographic studies

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