ST. GEORGE'S CHURCH - TOWN OF ORIAHOVO

St. George's renaissance church in Oriahovo was pronounced a cultural monument of national importance in 1980. It was built in 1837 and belongs to the architectural type of three-nave basilica, which is not common in the north-west of Bulgaria.
According to Ottoman laws a new temple cannot be erected, especially in a settlement captured by storm. Christians face obstacles but succeed in acquiring new churches. Oriahovo is not an exception - the merchant Nitsol Nikolaev and Dimitar Vekilarov employed by the multesim (a senior tax official) Molla Mutish, undertake to build a church. They manage to raise money for the purpose and provide a site at the end of the Charshiya (the craftsmen's street). The construction works begin without the permission of the authorities. As a result they are both arrested but later manage to receive the necessary permission. The restriction that is imposed is that the temple should be dug into the ground and should be without a dome. To compensate for this, the church has a richly decorated interior. This is a three-nave basilica with a saddle roof with equally high ceilings. A semi-circular apse in the east corresponds to the middle nave. The three naves are divided by pillars. The iconostasis slightly juts out, which optically lengthens the temple decorated by gilded carving. The church is designed in accordance with the classical model at the time - high socle, above which is a layer of big icons, and above the latter are two layers of small icons dominated by the cross. The icons are created for a long time and bear the features of the Teteven, Samokov and Debar schools. In 1864 alterations are made to the architectural design - a belfry is raised, a dome, emporia and external narthex are built. Later the church is dug out. Because of climate changes a chapel is built in the narthex (which is non-existent today). The church interior is decorated twice - in 1887 and in 1927 – 1928/
It is known that on 25.12.1837 a liturgy was held in St. George’s Church, but it is not known when the consecration of the church took place. Another issue which remains unknown is who the first priests were. What is clear is who were the priests after 1850: Priest Krastyo from Vratsa. Priest Stankul, Priest Mitrakiy, Priest Dimitar from Valchedrum, Hristo Ivanov from Etropole, Archpriest Ivan Oprov, Alexandar Yankov. In 1874 the teacher Georgi Lazarov from Teteven became a priest. Head of the church parish during the struggles for independent church was coadjutor Alipii from Dupnitsa. Other leaders of the struggle were Hristo Ivanov, Ivan Oprov, Alexandar Yankov, the teacher Toma Mladenov from Lom, Chorbadzhi Tseko Valchev from Enitsa, the merchant Andrey Lulchev from Koprivshtitsa, Stoyan Ivanov, Georgi Nedyalkov, Iliya Angelov.
From 1981 to 2007 St. George’s Church was not in operation. During that period the building, the iconostasis and some of the murals were restored.