Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Madara River, Bulgaria






The Madara River, or to be exact, the Madara Horseman, is an early medieval relief carved on the cliff of the Madara Plateau. It is located near the village of Madara, to the east of Shumen, in northeastern Bulgaria. It is such an important national icon that the was depicted on the Bulgarian coins of 1 to 50 stotinki issued in 1999 and 2000. On 29 June, 2008, the Madara Horseman was also chosen to be depicted on Bulgaria's future euro coins. The Madara Horseman was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 3rd session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Cairo and Luxor, Egypt, on 22-26 October, 1979. It is one of the three properties in Bulgaria to be inscribed that year.

Photos of Madara River

Madara River, Bulgaria
Madara River, Bulgaria
Author: Dom2002 (public domain)

Madara River, Bulgaria
Madara River, Bulgaria
Author: Martyr (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

More on the Madara Horseman

The Madara Horseman relief depicts a knight on horseback triumphing over a lion. It was carged into the 100-meter high cliff somewhere between AD 705 and 801.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 43 17 60 E 27 8 60
Inscription Year: 1979
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: I, III

The property is located in the village of Madara in the Province of Shumen. It covers an area of 1.2 hectares surrounded by a 501.7 hectare buffer zone. There are two main theories of what the relief depicts. The first theoru is that it depicts the Khan Tervel, ruler of the Bulgar people. The Bulgars were a nomadic tribe which later merged with the local Slav people to form modern Bulgarians. The second theory is that the image is that of a pagan god of ancient Thracians, a people who used to inhabited the eastern, central and southern part of the Balkan peninsula.

Ancient inscriptions have been found around the image on the cliff. They were in Medieval Greek, and they provide a glimpse into the history of Bulgaria during that time.

Location Map


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Visiting Madara River

Your base for visiting this World Heritage Site is Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. From there, you can make the arrangement, either on your own or through a travel agency, to go to Madara River. As part of the preparations, here's a list of hotels in Sofia with online booking facility.

Getting there

Book Hotel Rooms in Bulgaria and Worldwide

Click here also for a full list of hotels in Bulgaria or hotels worldwide. If you prefer budget accommodation in hostels, guesthouses or inns, check out hostels worldwide for budget accommodation providers with online booking.


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