Interestingly, the church seen in the album is only a small remain of the actual fortress. It's the Church of the Holy Mother of God. The ruins of the fortress, a bit further up some stairs, are maintained well. You can see the actual shape the fortress used to have. Most likely, the church itself was constructed in the 12th Century. It's a beautiful place that can easily be reached by car or on foot. There's plenty of people walking uphill from Asenovgrad, as it's only about 2 kilometres. The church itself fits well into the surroundings, it's proportionate and the colours match. A true masterpiece of architecture, centrally located in Bulgaria.
The earliest findings date from the era of the Thracians. The fortress was inhabited during Byzantine times as well. The fortress was strengthened in 1231 when Tsar Ivan Asen II ruled. It would function as a stronghold against a possible invasion of Latin troops. In the 14th Century, during Ottoman rule, the fortress was destroyed. Yet, the church is still standing as it was inhabited. It still functions as a place of worship by Bulgarians from the whole country. Likewise, the place is popular for day trips from nearby cities Plovdiv and, a bit farther away, Sofia. Day trips can be done in combination with Bachkovo monastery and the Chudnite mostove. In addition, this area is the gateway to the Rhodope mountains. The road continues to Chepelare and Smolyan, cities in one of the most intriguing areas of Bulgaria.
Likewise, it's easy to combine Asenovgrad with a visit to the Wondrous Bridges (Chudnite Mostove), Chirpan, and Arapovo monastery. Then Haskovo, Kardzhali, Perperikon and the Devil's Bridge are definitely worth a visit as well!