Klisura Monastery “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”
Orthodox name: St. St. Cyril and Methodius
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Location of the monastery:
The Klisura Monastery is hidden in the picturesque valley of Vreshtitsa river, at the foot of Todorini Kukli peak in the the western part of the Balkan mountain. It is situated 4km away from the village of Klisura, about 9km away from the town of Berkovitsa, 28km away from the town of Vratsa and 54km away from Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia.
If you head off from Sofia, you would better choose the easiest way to reach the Klisura Monastery, drive along the road to the town of Montana, which crosses the Petrohan pass in the Balkan Mountain. When you pass through the town of Burziya, then you need to continue driving along the road to the town of Vurshets. You will reach the offroad leading to the monastery’s gates after 5km down the road. The whole road is asphalt and well-signed.
History of the monastery:
Klisura Monastery was founded in 1240 as at that time it was named Vreshetski. The monastery was devastated by the Ottoman conquerors in the 15th century and consequently it remained uninhabited for a long period. It was renovated in 1742 by donations of Klisura’s residents. However, 40 years later it was destroyed once again. Nevertheless, the monastery for consecutive time has been brought to life because of the efforts of monks and local residents.
The year 1862 has been marked as a tragic in the history of the Klisura Monastery. On the celebration of the day of St St Cyril and Metodii, the cloister was burnt to ashes and all monks and pilgrims were slaughtered by the Turkish pasha from Berkovitsa, Yusuf Bey and his soldiers. All valuables were stolen, 120 people were dramatically killed and the monastery itself was torn down.
The Klisura Monastery was renovated in 1869 and its present-day Renaissance appearance is a result of the help of the archimandrite and church-donor Antim Damyanov. The church “St. St. Kiril and Metodii” was officially consecrated in 1891 by the Vidin’s Metropolitan Bishop.
Architecture and present condition:
At present, the Klisura Monastery is fully operational and it consists of two churches, residential and farming buildings.
The main church “St. St. Kiril and Metodii’ is three-domed, three-apse, cross-domed building. It has an open narthex on both sides of which high church-towers are situated. The iconostasis is an original piece of art of the master Stoicho Fandukov. The icons in the old shrine date back to the 18-19th century and they were created by the famous Bulgarian icon-painter Nikola Obrazopisov. The church was painted later in 1937 by the renowned Bulgarian artists, Gospodin Zhelyazkov and Georgi Bogdanov.
A few years ago a new, but significantly smaller church, the chapel “St. Nikola” has been built.
Many precious objects such as old icons, books, church plates are kept in the Klisura Monastery, but the most valuable ones are the saints’ relics.
The so-called “live water” was found in 2000 in the holy spring of the Klisura Monastery. It flows of the Todorini Kukli mountain peak. The spring water is low-mineralized and is believed to be curative.
The holy cloister of the Klisura Monastery is declared to be a monastery’s complex.
Accommodation in the monastery:
The Klisura Monastery has 80 beds and 2 apartments. The price per bed in a room is 8 BGN and 10 BGN in an apartment. All rooms have their own bathroom. The restaurant (50 seats) offers traditional Bulgarian meals all of which cooked with products of the monastery’s farm. the In order to make the journey of the visitor even more exciting, the monastery’s staff offers mountain hiking, horse riding, folklore performances and exhibitions.
Places of interest in the region:
1.The Klisura Monastery-Todorini Kukli mountain peak (3,3 hours)
2. . Zanojene quarter-the town of Burshets-Todorini Kukli mountain peak (7 hours)
Near chalets: Byalata Voda, Proboinitsa, Purshevitsa.
National tourist spots in a close proximity: the town of Vurshets (7km); Kom Mountain Peak (12,5); the cave Ledenika (23,5).