On April 19th this year, at 14:00 Minister of Culture Vladimir Penev will formally open the restored early Christian basilica "The Red Church" Near Perushtitsa. It was restored under the auspices of a project of the Ministry of Culture with European funding, named "Recovery, Exposure and Development of the Tourism Infrastructure of the Early Christian Basilica "The Red Church" Near Perushtica", a part of Operational Program "Regional Development", scheme grant number: BG 161PO 001/3.1-01/2008 - "Support for Cultural Monuments of National and Global Significance, Contributing to the Sustainable Development of Tourism".
The value of the project is 2,304,052 Levs, and its main purpose was to carry out a conservation, restoration and socialization of "The Red Church", with the aim of supporting the development of cultural tourism within the interior of the country. The "Recovery, Exposure and Development of Tourism Infrastructure of the Early Christian Basilica "The Red Church" Near Perushtitsa" project also included conservation measures, socialization, and improved opportunities for access to cultural treasures and created conditions for the development of the local tourism industry. The project implementation will allow the inclusion of "The Red Church" in thematic and territorial cultural routes.
As a result of the project pedestrian access, including access for persons with disabilities was provided to "The Red Church". A panoramic road around the church as well as connections to the main road from Plovdiv and an Information Center were also constructed.
The newly-built Information Center and exposition space in the reception building will significantly improve the tourist information services. The construction of the transport and tourism infrastructure will contribute both to an increase in attendance and to a better protection of the early Christian basilica.
The town of Perushtitsa and the surrounding area have a special place in the historical memory of Bulgaria. The area is a rich source of archaeological finds. It is believed that the current township dates back to the ancient town of Dragovets which was likely located 2-3 kilometers north of the present-day boundaries, but was destroyed in 1364. One of the most notable Vth - VIth century monuments in the vicinity of the modern town is the early Christian basilica "The Red Church". Its construction in the vicinity of Philippopolis, not far from the important route from Thrace to the Aegean and from Constantinople to Western Europe is associated with the spread of a cult of martyrs in early Christendom ."The Red Church" is one the most outstanding representatives of early Christian architecture in the Balkans from the early Byzantine era. The church is of the “chetirikonhalna domed basilica” type with circuitous corridors and two narthex. Parts of the northern conch - up to the height of the cupola arch - are preserved. There are remains of two layers of frescoes. Adjacent to the church, a large yard on the western side of the entrance and a tower next to it were revealed, along with a necropolis from the XIth-XIIIth century and a settlement from the thirteenth century. Three construction periods were recorded for the church. Initially it was a Martirio, built in the late fourth century. In the period from the end of the Vth up to the early VIth century it became a church. In the third period of construction /X-XIVth century/ a portico was built and numerous alterations were performed. The frescoes are dated between the VIth and XIth centuries.