Monasteries in the region of Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia eparchy is the biggest diocese in Bulgaria which includes the greatest number of monasteries. One can visit only 40km away from Sofia more than 40 functional monasteries. The majority of the monasteries in Sofia’s region were established in the 13th century when was also marked the beginning of the grandiose monastery complex Mala, also called “minor Holy Mount” of Sofia.
The main cultural and historical cloisters, most of which exist till nowadays, are huddled in the mountains around Sofia. These are: Dragalevtsi Monastery"Virgin Mary of Vitosha", Kladnitsa monastery “St.Nikolay”, Kokalyane Monastery “St. Archangel Michael”, German Monastery “St. Ivan Rilski”, Gorna Banya monastery “St. St. Kyril and Methodius” and many others. Many monasteries are located in the mountainous regions near Sofia, around Pernik and Radomir-Zemen Monastery “St. Ioan Bogoslov”, Peshtera monastery “St. Nikolay”; around Breznik-Bilinski Monastery “St. Archangel Michael”, Gigintsi monastery “St. St. Cosma and Damyan”; near Trun-Nedelishki Monastery “St. Atanasius” , Trun monastery “St. Archangel Michael”; Godech region-Razboishte monastery “The presentation of the Blessed Virgin”, Bukorovo Monastery “St. George the Victorious”, Godech Monastery “Holy Spirit”. All of the afore-mentioned monasteries, lying northwest in the Viskyar Mountain, Burel and Chepun, are closely related to Sofia’s monasteries.
Rila Monastery "St. Ivan of Rila"
Rila Monastery is the biggest monastery in Bulgaria. It was built in the middle of 10th century by the hermit Ivan of Rila. The present appearance of Rila Monastery dated back to the beginning of 19th century when the residential wings and the main church "The Nativity of the Virgin" were built. The oldest building in the monastery is Hrelyo Tower from 14th century.monastery details
Bachkovo Monastery "Virgin Mary"
The monastery was established in 1083 by the Great Domestik of Western Byzantine Garrisons, the Georgian, Grigorii Bakuriani. Due to its origin, the monastery combines three cultures – Byzantine, Georgian and Bulgarian. There are three churches in the monastery, the oldest one of which dated back to the 12th-13th century.monastery details
Dragalevtsi Monastery "Virgin Mary of Vitosha"
Dragalevtsi Monastery was mentioned for the first time in the Vitosha golden-printed deed of the famous Bulgarian king Ivan Shishman (1371-1393). It revealed that the monastery had been established during the reign of Ivan Alexander (1331-1371), which means the period of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. It is believed that the monastery was a part of the group of monasteries which arose in 14th and 15th century around Sofia.monastery details
Etropole Monastery "St. Trinity"
The Etropole Monastery was established in the Middle Ages (1158). It is famous for its limestone base due to the limestone with which the monastery’s church was built. The legend says that the holy cloister’s existence may have been closely related to the name of the hermit Ivan Rilski, who had settled in one of the caves in the ‘Varovitets’ region before choosing solitude life in Rila. Nevertheless, the local people of Etropole declared the place holy and laid the foundations of the present-day monastery. Etropole “St.Trinity” monastery was one of the biggest literacy centres at Bulgarian lands in XVI and XVII century as the popular Etropole calligraphic and art school was established there.monastery details
Kremikovtsi Monastery "St. George the Victorious"
It is believed that the Kremikovtsi Monastery was built during the reign of the king Ivan Alexander , but there is certain evidence for its existence from the 15th century. The oldest building there is the church “St.Georgi” dated back to the end of the 15th century and renovated two times. During the Ottoman Slavery the Kremikovtsi Monastery was an important literary and cultural centre for Sofia’s residents and many liturgical books have been transcribed there. Kremikovtsi cloister is a nunnery at the presentmonastery details
Osenovlashki Monastery „Virgin Mary”
The legend says that the establishment of the Osenovlashki Monastery (the Seven Altars) is related to the name of the famous Bulgarian boyar Petar Deliyan and the rebellion against the Byzantine rule in 1040. The earliest historical evidence for the existence of the Osenovlashki Monastery was found in a Gospel dated back to 1511, and from another official document from 1554monastery details
German Monastery “St.Ivan Rilski”
The German monastery was established in the 10th century and according to the legend, the venerable St.Ivan Rilski has lived there for a while just before he has found his solitude in the Rila Mountain. . The holy cloister was completely destroyed during the time of the invasion of Ottoman conquerors in 1382 when Sofia city fell under their power. The shrine was restored one century later and it has rapidly turned into a cultural centre. After the Liberation, the then father superior of the German Monastery, Nikifor and his brother Cyril decided to rebuild the sanctuary. In 1886 the old church was torn down and a new one was erected over the same place.monastery details