Veliki Preslav (Great Preslav) was the second Capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Tsar Simeon (893-927) erected the new capital which became a powerful cultural, political and administrative centre of the young Christian state. The town had area of about 5 sq. km surrounded by fortress walls up to 3 m thick.
Its imposing ruins are to be found 2 km south of the town of Veliki Preslav. Veliki Preslav was the capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom from 893 till 969 in the epoch of its supreme might and boom of the old Bulgarian culture. It sprung up in the first half of 9th century during the reign of Khan Omurtag (814-831) as a military camp with a fortified palace and garrison. Tsar Simeon (893-927) proclaimed it a capital (thus moving it from Pliska). It was established as an administrative, cult-religious and cultural centre of the mediaeval Bulgarian state, renowned for its remarkable monumental construction work, the achievements of applied arts, the painted ceramics, and the famous literary school.
Veliki Preslav grew systematically as a town. It has the same constructions of gates, towers and walls as Pliska does. It had the same two fortification rings separating the Interior from the Exterior City, however the exterior zone is not the ditch typical for the ancient Bulgarians but a solid and tall fortress wall. Following and improving their own tradition of construction work the Bulgarian masters for the first time in Europe built a town with two concentric fortress walls - the exterior being 3, 25 m thick, and the interior – 2, 80 m thick.
Preslav is pure Bulgarian name coming from "preslavun" (famous, most glorious), and the name Veliki was added when the capital turned into really huge and representative town for its time. The old Bulgarian capital occupied a territory of 3.5 sq. km. Tsar Simeon made Preslav the most majestic town in the whole of south-east Europe. The most talented Bulgarian men of letters of the time worked there - Yoan Ekzarh, Chernorizets Hrabar, Konstantin Preslavski, and Prezviter Kozma.
In 969 Veliki Preslav was conquered by prince Svetoslav of Kiev, and between 971 and 1186 it suffered by Byzantine rule and ore the name of Johnanopolis. In 1388 the town was conquered and destroyed by the Turks. Some Turkish documents of 1573, 1585 and 1620 registered a village on the spot of the present day town with the name Eski Stambolchouk (Old Istanbul). The village had this name till 1878, and then it was called Preslav. In 1993 the town returned to the name signifying its biggest grandeur.