Photographer's Note

Cathedral church
The Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral (Катедрален храм "Успение Пресвятия Богородици" or Катедрален храм "Успение Богородично" translit. Katedralen Hram Uspenie Bogorodichno) is the largest and most famous Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in the Bulgarian Black Sea port city of Varna, and the second largest in Bulgaria (after cathedral Alexander Nevski in Sofia). Officially opened on 30 August 1886. It is the residence of the bishopric of Varna and Preslav and one of the symbols of Varna.

During Russian Knyaz Dondukov-Korsakov's visit to Varna, he noticed the need for a cathedral church that would suit the needs of the growing city's population of Eastern Orthodox Christians. Metropolitan Simeon gathered the community to elect a commission aimed at preparing the construction of a new church, particularly selecting the spot, raising money and securing timber and building materials. The construction was evaluated at 300–400,000 French francs, most of them expected to be collected by means of voluntary donations. The 15,000 francs that were initially collected were quickly laid out, but the Bulgarian government granted a sum of 100,000 leva and a lottery of 150,000 2-lev tickets was run.

Primarily materials from the vicinity of Varna were used for the construction of the cathedral. Stones from the destroyed fortified walls of the city were collected, material for the façade was brought from the neighbouring villages of Lyuben Karavelovo and Kumanovo, the inner columns were made of local stone. The outer columns under the windows used stone from Rousse and the arches relied on limy freestone. Copper plates for the roof, as well as elevating gear to lift the blocks of stone, were brought from England.
he foundation stone was laid by Bulgarian Knyaz Alexander on 22 August 1880 after a solemn ceremony and prayer in front of a crowd of Bulgarians and Armenians. The Knyaz gave amnesty to all the local prisoners that had three months or less left to spend in prison.

The name that was chosen, Dormition of the Theotokos, was in memory of Russian Empress consort Maria Alexandrovna, a benefactress of Bulgaria and aunt of the Bulgarian knyaz, who had recently died.

The initially selected spot was not liked by the knyaz, who preferred a location on a hill in the then-outskirts of the city, where a garden could also be arranged and so that the cathedral could be seen from the whole city.

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Additional Photos by Costantino Topas (COSTANTINO) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9985 W: 23 N: 17236] (108056)
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