Sozopol’s chapels

The chapels are projection of the Christianity and traditional Orthodox ritual of the local community. They are organically related to the typical urbanization of Sozopol. It is believed to have been built in connection with the vowing of seafarers and fishermen, rescued in a shipwreck, or as a result of dreams. In some cases, they signal the sites of ancient medieval churches, destroyed in time. According to preserved information, from the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century AD, there were 18 chapels in Sozopol and 13 in its vicinity.

Chapel “St. Konstantin and Elena”

Traditional for the city is the practice in each neighborhood to build a small chapel, which serves as a local proskynetarion (place for prayer). This type of cult building has a simple one-dimensional plan, with no distinctive apse outside. For most, the altar is a simple niche that performs the functions of an iconostasis. The construction is made of stone masonry with clay or mortar. It is common for construction to use spolia from earlier temples. A donor inscription was built-in on the western façade, above the door. The floor and entrance usually correspond directly with the street level. The roof is usually double-sided. All the chapels in their construction were parish.

At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century AD, with the increase of the inhabitants of the city, the built up spaces became denser. Often the houses, adjacent to some of the chapels, fence their yards along with the existing chapel, which subsequently becomes a home one.

These cult buildings play an important role in uniting the local community. They are constantly open, their maintenance is a responsibility of a certain family, which enables believers to light a candle or pray to the God at any time. Currently, most chapels are served only on their patron’s day or the following Sunday.