Monasteries in Southwestern Bulgaria

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In the Southwestern Bulgaria there are a few functional monasteries around Blagoevgrad town, Sandanski, Gotse Delchev and Bansko. The remarkable Rila Monastery is situated between Blagoevgad and Sofia. One of the most popular monasteries in Bulgaria, the picturesque Rozhen Monastery is also in close proximity to popular Spa centre Sandanski. The newest Bulgarian monastery, the Ruen Monastery “St. Ivan Rilski”, established in 2002, also lies in the region.

Rila Monastery "St. Ivan of Rila"

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.

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Rozhen Monastery “St Nativity of Mother of God”

Rozhen Monastery “St Nativity of Mother of God”

The exact date of the establishment of Rozhen Monastery is not known, but according to annals, the name of the monastery was mentioned for the first time in a Greek manuscript which dated back to the 13th century. It is the only monastery in Bulgaria which was restored in the first centuries of Ottoman rule and has survived to the present day.

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