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Rock churchvillage of Mihalich in Haskovo, Bulgaria
The rock church in the village of Mihalich is the only one in Bulgaria with a unique triconch shape (with three apses). The whole church is carved into a limestone rock. By design it represents a true domed triconch church, as if it were made of ordinary building material. Its internal space is perceived as a cross-shaped dome. The three conchs have almost identical dimensions: the two side ones are 4 metres deep and 3.60 metres wide, while the eastern one is 4x4 m. The right side of the latter conch was extended due to the rock breaking off, as it remains unclear whether it happened during the making of the church or later. The space of the missing rock is now filled with a wall made of crushed stones. At the bottom of the eastern conch an altar is made - a wall of plate stones, 0.80 m high and 0.85 m wide in the middle.
The desire of the builders to make a church resembling one built by masonry work was so strong that they carved a central dome in its middle with a diameter of 5.5 m and a height of 6 m. The church has also other architectural elements typical for masonry structures. Instead of squinches or pendentives which would make more rounded the square space between the conchs above which the dome rises, here on both sides of the eastern conch at 2.60 m from the floor there are column capitals. They rise at some 30 cm and are placed in the corner cut between the eastern and side conchs. This corner is formed by the two walls, each 90 cm wide. Thus an illusion is created that the dome is carried by columns. In the corner between the eastern and the left conch, a cross has been carved with a width of 0.30 cm and arms enlarging to the inside. There are no other images or wall paintings. The floor is made above the rock on which a thin layer of earth is accumulated (up to 10 cm).
All efforts to find evidence of more accurate dating have proven to be futile. Outside the church, on the surface there are insignificant fragments of early medieval pottery, and in the nearby аrеа - traces of old settlements of different ages. The rock church at the village of Mihalich stands apart from all other rock-hewn churches found in Bulgaria with its complex, triconch shape which, in the Balkan peninsula, is present only in masonry buildings known since ancient times and in the churches of Early Byzantine architecture. It was probably made in the restless years around the 10th century AD. Churches, monasteries and other religious sketes were carved in the rocks by monks and hermits who were followers of various religious heresies that proliferated at the time."