The Red Church

The Red church near Perushtitza is one of the rare examples of early christian Byzantine architecture, which has been conserved in a good condition. From the reproductions of the archaeologists, who have worked on the relics, it is clear that the church had been an impressive building in its days.

The church is built in the end of the 4th century, and at that time it supposedly served as a martyrium (a home to the relics of a saint). Later, during the 6th century, the building was turned into a basilica, and to its central part a chapel was added to the South and a baptistery to the North. Probably in the 7th century, during the time of the raids by the Kumans and Pechenegs, the building suffered serious damages. In the 11th - 12th century a renovation was done both of the building itself and of the frescoes; a necropolis was build on the Northwest around the church, a portico with colonnade was added from the West. Its steps are still visible nowadays.

The architectural plan of the church resembles a four-leaf flower or of a Greek cross with rounded arms. It is a tetraconch - the square central space (with a 8m side) was rounded by four semi-circular walls (conchs) with the same size. The eastern conch was limited by a solid wall. The surrounding halls in direction North-West around the other conches could be entered by a colonnade with fretwork. The central part covered by a dome was rising up to the impressive 17,5m, and the conches were 11,5m in height. The whole construction was built with red bricks (plynths), joined together with pink mortar, which is where the church gets its name from.

The Red church is located next to the town of Perushtitsa, some 17 km away from Plovdiv. The church is close to the asphalt road which connects Perustitsa with the nearby village of Yoakim Gruevo. Few hundred metres after the last buildings of Perushtitsa there is a bridge above an irrigation channel. Right before it starts a footpath which will take you to the church.