Trapezitsa is the second most important fortification in the old Bulgarian capital of Tarnovo. Its name means either trabeza (table) or derives from the word trapezium, giving an idea of its shape.
Being a part of the capital, Trapezitsa hosted many beautiful buildings and churches. The main Christian buildings of Turnovo, as well as the patriarch’s residence were kept behind the thick fortress walls.
During excavation works in the beginning of the 20th century, archaeologists discovered the remains of at least 17 churches, each of them a beautifully decorated and playing role in Bulgarian history. The relics of St. Ivan of Rila were treasured for several centuries in one of the Trapezitsa churches before they were moved to the Rila Monastery.
Evidence shows that Trapezitsa hosted the residences of rich and noble Bulgarians. They lived in spacious buildings with remarkable architecture. A road hewn into the rock led to a bridge that connects Trapezitsa with the fortress of Tsarevets. Trapezitsa was protected by the river of Yantra, which provided natural defense mechanism. Four entrances led inside. The southern entrance was the main one. A part of the southern gate is still preserved.