The most notable monument at the Madara reserve is the unique stone relief known as the Madara Horseman.
Carved on a massive cliff some 23 meters high, it is representative of early Medieval Bulgarian artistry.
The relief depicts a horseman in a natural pose with a sword in his hand. At the feet of the horse is a lion, and behind the rider is depicted his hunting dog. One legend has it that a Roman emperor was hunting on the plateau when he fell off the cliff and died. His relatives memorialized him by engaging a master to carve his image on the cliff.
Scholarly conjecture has associated the relief with Khan Krum (reign 803 – 814), Tervel (reign 701 – 718), Asparukh (reign 681 – 701), and even with the god Tangra (the supreme deity of the proto-Bulgarians).
The stone relief is the only one of its kind in Europe. In 1979, it was included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in 2008 it was chosen as the national symbol of Bulgaria.