Plakovski Monastery "St Prophet Iliya"
Orthodox name:St. Prophet Iliya
The Plakovski Monastery is situated at the north foot of the Elenski Balkan near the village of Plakovo, about 14km away from the town of Veliko Turnovo.
The road to the Plakovo Monastery is to the south of Veliko Turnovo as it has an offroad at the town of Kilifarevo. The village of Plakovo lies 5km away from there, whereas the monastery itself is 2km further down the road from the village.
History of the monastery:
The Plakovo Monastery “St. Prophet Iliya” was established during the reign of the tsar Ivan Alexander II. Initially it has been located a few kilometers away from the present day cloister where an old ancient church still can be seen. The monastery was erected on its present place in the middle of the 13th century and similarly to most monasteries in the Veliko Turnovo region, dating back to this period; it was destroyed during the Ottoman invasion.
The Plakovski Monastery was reconstructed in 1450, but afterwards it was repeatedly set on fire and plundered. Neophite Bozveli has visited the monastery twice and in 1794 he considered with the monks how they can prepare themselves and send out teachers and priests in the country. Sofrnoii Vrachanski used to have come in the Plakovski Monastery and soon afterwards he has become a father superior of the neighbor Kapinovo Monastery. However, he left his book “Kiriakodromion” (“Nedelnik”) as a gift to the monks in the Plakovo Monastery.
In 1835, the Plakovski monastery hosted the famous Velcho’s Plot, as one of the leaders of anti-Ottoman plot being the ex-abbot of the monastery, Father Sergey. After the plot had been suppressed by the Ottoman troops, the monastery was destroyed.
The renovation of the Plakovski Monastery began in 1845 during the period of the abbot Sofronii. The old church was torn down and the present monastery’s temple “St. Iliya” was built on its place. The name of the builder is still unknown, but it is believed that it was created by the famous Bulgarian master Kolyo Ficheto who soon after in 1856 constructed also the residential wing of the monastery and the belltower. At that time a secret exit, leading from the church to the forest, was dug by the monks. Later on such a secret way out was made from the monastery’s kitchen. In fact, those underground exits were used by the Apostle of Freedom, Vassil Levski when he was pursued by the Turkish raiders.
Unfortunately, due to a fire in 1949, most of the residential buildings in the Plakovski Monastery were burnt to ashes.
Architecture and present condition:
Nowadays the Plakovski Monastery is operational. The monastery acquired its present condition after 1845 when the monastery church, residential buildings and the belltower were built.
The only one fresco with inscriptions from the church-donors, “Ascension of Prophet Iliya” above the entrance and below the open narthex, was painted by an unknown artist. An extraordinary unpolished iconostasis with unique wood-carvings is kept in the church. The church keeps also valuable icons painted by the prominent artist Zahari Zograf.
The two-storey residential buildings and the 26m high church tower are of great interest for every visitor of the Plakovski Monastery. Both of them were created by Kolyo Ficheto.
Telephone number of the monastery:+ 359/International dialling code for Bulgaria/ 611 01320
Food and accommodation are not available in the Plakovski Monastery. However, there is a rich choice of restaurants and hotels in close proximity to the monastery in the town of Veliko Turnovo.
Places of interest in the region:
The architectural and historical reserve Tsarevets is situated 14 km away from the Plakovski Monastery.
sosoabram for Plakovski Monastery, 05.01.2017
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