Krichim is a town in southern Bulgaria. It is located in Plovdiv District. The city is the center and only populated place in Krichim Municipality.
History of the city of Krichim
Krichim is an ancient settlement from Early Byzantine times. At the beginning of the Vacha River gorge, tall and inaccessible rocks on both sides are the remains of the two medieval fortresses that have played a key role in guarding this important mountain pass.
The region is part of the First Bulgarian Kingdom until its fall under Byzantine rule. It was released during the march of Tsar Asen I in 1190. In 1198 the Krichim fortress was in the hands of Ivanko. In the same year, the fortress was captured by the Byzantine sevastokrator Georgi Paleologus, who fell dead after overcoming the fortress wall with a ladder.
Particularly interesting is Assen’s fortress, from which are preserved a fortress wall, reservoir, residential buildings. The great landmark there is the Stone of Tsar Asen, where the Krichim inscription, which is extremely valuable for the history, is perfectly preserved today. It reads: “At this stone I sit King Asen when he took Krichim.” It is believed that, as it was customary to commemorate the victorious crusades against the Byzantines with inscriptions on stone for ever and ever, it is the march of Tsar Asen I in 1190 or Tsar Ivan Assen II around 1230 when the royal Bulgarian sovereignty above the fortress was restored after the bizarre and territorial losses occurred with the murder of Tsar Kaloyan.
After the victory of 1235 the king donated generously the monasteries of Mount Athos, as witnessed by Patriarch Evtimii in “The Life of Petka Turnovska”. From the gold prints issued on behalf of Ivan Assen II for these monasteries, only the one for Vatoped (the “Vatopedic Grammar”) is preserved. The diploma giving rights to Dubrovnik merchants for free trade in the lands of the Bulgarian kingdom (the “Dubrovnik Cult”) was also preserved. Of particular interest in it is the enumeration of the provinces of Vidin, Branichevska, Belgrade, Tarnovska, Zagorska, Preslavska, Karvunska, Kranska, Odrinski, Skopska, Prilepska, Dolenska and Arbanashka.
The Dubrovnik Charlemagne of Tsar Ivan Asen II
Krichim is among the few settlements in the Plovdiv region, which in the early Renaissance (1396 – 1762) had cell schools. The monasteries “St. Virgin Mary “and” St. Vrach “supported the Church-Slavic and Bulgarian literary tradition and served as schools. They have kept the most expensive thing for the people – writing. According to testimonies of visiting the village in 1861, American missionaries, it has 1,000 Turks living.
Sightseeing around Krichim
From the outskirts of the town starts the territory of the reserve “The Burned Gun”. Nearby are remnants of the wall of the ancient Krichim fortress. The area is known as “Kaleto”.
In its vicinity is the Stone of Tsar Asen, where the inscription is cut: Tsar Ivan Asen was sitting on this stone when he took Krichim.
Attraction in Krichim is the bridge over the Vacha River with a completely western metal structure that has been moved from Serbia during the First World War.
For the majesty of Krichim, for the waking population and strong people with preserved faith and tradition, the second monastery – “St.Bogoroditsa” and “Sv.Vrach”, founded in the middle of the Middle Ages in the valley of Vacha River near Krichim at the foot of Rhodope peak Klisura. Krichim Monasteries are old spiritual, cultural-national and enlightenment centers. In them are created and preserved cultural values, preserved faith, spirituality and nationality. Destroyed in troubled times and raised again, the holy places of Crikvenim were not only temples of God, but also schools of the people for godly and Christian life, for the preservation of the Bulgarian spirit. Less than 5 km away is the Krichim Monastery “Uspenie Bogorodichno”, on the banks of the river Vucha. During the April Uprising, the monastery was destroyed, but at the end of the 19th century it was restored.