Most popular monasteries in Bulgaria
The most famous and largest monasteries in Bulgaria are the Rila Monastery, Bachkovo monastery and the Troyan Monastery, which are under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy Synod. Other exceptionally picturesque monasteries are the Glozhene Monastery “ St. George the Victorious " near Teteven and the Rozhen monastery "St Nativity of Mother of God” in the region of Sandanski and Melnik.
Famous monasteries near Sofia
To the north of Sofia in the Balkan mountain range, there are 3 large and well-governed monasteries - "Seven Altars" monastery (Osenovlashki monastery) and Cherepish Monastery "the Assumption" in the Iskar rover gorge and Klisura monastery near pass Petrohan and the Etropole monastery "Holy Trinity " near Etropole after the pass Vitinya. Dragalevtsi Monastery "Virgin Mary of Vitosha" at the foot of the Vitosha and Kremikovtsi Monastery "St. George the Victorious " are also very interesting places to visit.
Monasteries near Veliko Turnovo
Nowadays 15 functional monasteries of high historical and cultural value can be visited by the inspired worshipper in Veliko Turnovo. Among them are the Dryanovo Monastery “St. Archangel Michael”, the Transfiguration monastery, the Patriarch Monastery "Holy Trinity", the Plakovski monastery "St. Iliya the Prophet" and the Sokolski monastery “Holy Mother's Assumption” .
Rock monasteries in Bulgaria
There are numerous rock monasteries in Northern Bulgaria, most of which are not functional at the present time. Many rock monasteries are situated in the picturesque valley of the Roussenski Lom river-Basarbovo Monastery is the only active rock monastery in Bulgaria and the Ivanovo rock monastery, which is about 25 kilometers away from the Basarbovo monastery, is included in the list of World Cultural heritage of UNESCO. Another popular rock monastery is Aladzha monastery near Golden Sands resort.
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
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
Stauropegial Troyan monastery is the third biggest monastery in Bulgaria and the third in significance as well. It was built in 1600, but its present appearance dated back to the period 1835-1855 when the main church was erected. At present, the Troyan cloister is a complex of a main church and residential buildings, as well as two chapels-“ St Nikolay the Miracle-Worker” and “St. John the Baptist”.monastery details
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. Klisura Monastery was founded in 1240 as at that time it was named Vreshetski. The Klisura Monastery offers accommodation at reasonable prices.monastery details
The Aladzha rock monastery is situated only a few kilometers south of the Riviera Holiday Club sea resort and 2 km of Golden Sands seaside resort. It is also a part of the Golden Sands Nature Park. At present, the remains of 20 residential premises and three churches, which were cut out on two levels in the almost 40-meter high limestone rock and connected via an external staircase dug into the rocks, will fascinate the visitor.monastery details
Arapovski Monastery was established in the middle of 19th century near an antique spring. The construction was done in 1856 and 3 years later the main church "St.Nedelya" was built. The most unique bulding in Arapovski Monastery is the church tower.monastery details
Basarbovo Rock Monastery was established during the period of the second Bulgarian kingdom, but its name was mentioned for the first time in a Turkish tax register in 1431. The most famous resident of the monastery was St. Dimitrii Basarbovski.monastery details
Cherepish Monastery was established during the reign of tsar Ivan Shishman. It was mentioned in a document kept in the Sofia church, historical and archeological museum that the monastery was destroyed during the period of Ottoman invasion. The Cherepish Monastery was restored in the beginning of the 17th century by the renowned Bulgarian ecclesiastic, builder and painter Pimen Zograf of Sofia.monastery details
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
Dryanovo monastery “ St Archangel Michael” is situated in the picturesque gorge of Dryanovo River , 4km away from the town of Dryanovo, 14km away from Gabrovo and 24km away from the historical town of Veliko Turnovo. The monastery was one of the main centers of Hesychasm and it was a shelter to many monks in the 14th century. There was a secret storeroom for food and arms, which was the reason why rebel leaders Priest Hariton and Bacho Kiro used the monastery as their fortress at the time of the April uprising.monastery details
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
Glozhene Monastery “St. George the Victorious” was established in the middle of 13th century by the Ukrainian prince Glozh who settled in the area of the present village Glozhene with the permission of the Bulgarian king Ivan Assen II. He built there a monastery dedicated to the icon “St.George the Victorious”, which he carried with him all the way from the land of Ukraine.monastery details
Ivanovo Rock Monastery was established in the twenties of 13th century by the monk Yakim. During the whole period of Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the monastery had developed strong relationships with the kings of Tarnovo.In the 14th century Ivanovo Rock Monastery was a centre of Hesychasm. The monastery had survived until Bulgaria fell under Ottoman Rule and shortly after, but gradually it fall into decline. Nowadays the monastery is not functioning and it consists of 20 small rock churches, chapels, monks' cells, hewn into the rocks of the picturesque canyon of Roussenski Lom river.monastery details
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
The Kuklen Monastery was established during the Second Bulgarian State and it was mentioned in the 11th century in a document describing the properties of the Bachkovo Monastery. It is believed that the monastery was named after the saint bothers Kozma and Damyan for their curative capabilities. The monastery emerged as a religious cloister around a spring of curable waters and according to the legend, it cures mental disorders.monastery details
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
The Patriarch Monastery “Holy Trinity” lies in an extraordinarily beautiful area at the foot of the picturesque Arbanassi plateau.According to some explorers, the Patriarch Monastery was established in 1070. Other records suggest that the holy cloister arose as far back as the reign of Ivan Alexander and its founders were Teodosii of Turnovo and Patriarch Evtimii. The Patriarch Monastery was plundered and demolished during the falling of Turnovo under Ottoman oppression. The Patriarch Monastery was restored in 1847 with the financial help of the local people, but on a different place, 1km away from the old monastery.monastery details
The Plakovo Monastery “St. Prophet Iliya” was established during the reign of the tsar Ivan Assen II.The monastery was erected on its present place in the middle of the 13th century. 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.monastery details
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.monastery details
Sokolski Monastery “Holy Mother’s Assumption” was founded in 1833 by archimandrite Yossif Sokolski. In the middle of the monastery yard is situated a beautiful white stone fountain with eight spouts . It was built in 1865 by the famous master Kolyo Ficheto. Sokolski Monastery, including its frescoes, has been recently restored with EU funds.monastery details
The Transfiguration Monastery is the biggest monastery in the Veliko Turnovo region and the fourth in Bulgaria.The Transfiguration cloister played an important role in the struggles of Bulgarian nation for religious and national independence. The Transfiguration Monastery was reestablished on its present location by the father Zoticus of the Rila Monastery in 1825.monastery details