The Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery is the most peaceful and gorgeous place in Bulgaria. It’s big tourist destination and it is crowded with tourists from all over the world. Within its stone walls you can find colorful architecture. Visitors can’t fail to be struck by its elegant colonnades, striped in black, red and white, and the bright yellow domes of its main church – The Monastery is very photogenic!

    Rila Monastery is the most peaceful and gorgeous place in Bulgaria. It’s big tourist destination and it is crowded with tourists from all over the world. Within its stone walls you can find colorful architecture. Visitors can’t fail to be struck by its elegant colonnades, striped in black, red and white, and the bright yellow domes of its main church – The Monastery is very photogenic!

     The Monastery lies in the recesses of Rila Mountain, located about 120 km from Sofia and 41 km from Blagoevgrad. The Monastery is directly related to Saint Ivan of Rila and it was founded in the 1st half ot 10th Century. While The Monastery has been existing, it was many times rebuilt, destroyed and reconstructed. Rila Monastery was initially situated near the cave where the Saint Ivan dwelled, after he passed away in 946, he was buried in the cave in which he found solitude. Under Ottoman Rule (1400 – 1878) the monastery influenced the development of the culture and the arts of all masterpiece of the creative Bulgarian people. Rila Monastery is considered a symbol of the 19th Century Bulgarian Renaissance which imparted Slavic Values upon Rila. During The Revival period (18th-19th Centuries) in the large bulgarian towns and villages some of the most well-educated Rila Monks performed their religious rites, established schools, and brought pilgrims to the monastery.

For centuries the Rila Monastery has been the center of intensive literacy activities. As a result of their work, today the library collection is one of the richest in the Balkans.

    The National Revival period transformed the Rila Monastery into a major educational and cultural center of Bulgarian lands – some of the most prominent enlighteners of the Nation received their education. The Rila Monastery Library manuscript collection comprises Slavic and Greek records dating from the 11th to mid-19th century. It’s noteworthy that despite the large number of service books in Greek, the monastery churches and chapels never heard service in Greek although it is evident the monks had good knowledge of the language which they could speak and in which they could read and write. Rila holy cloister got its present appearance in the 19th century and only the new part of the eastern wing of the monastery dates from the 20th century.

The Rila Monastery Library manuscript collection comprises Slavic and Greek records dating from the 11th to mid-19th century. It’s noteworthy that despite the large number of service books in Greek, the monastery churches and chapels never heard service in Greek although it is evident the monks had good knowledge of the language which they could speak and in which they could read and write.

    Hrelyo’s tower, the Oldest building in the holy cloister was built in 1335 (14th century). It was the monastery’s fortress and also the place where monks dwelled in times of trouble. The Chapel of The Transfiguration of God is on the 5th and last floor of the 24 m-high tower, which is open for visitors in the summer and some of the 14th century wall-paintings can be seen through the window niches of the chapel. The total area which the holy cloister takes, together with the church, the framing buildings and the residential is 8800 square meters. The Monastery courtyard, the Birth of the Virgin Mary Temple, Hrelyo’s tower, the museum, the residential and the farming buildings are surrounded by 22 m-high stone walls. There are around 300 rooms in the monastery, 100 of which are monastic cells. There is a museum which exhibits items providing information about the history of the monastery. The museum exhibition comprises valuable examples of Bulgarian and foreign art is the wooden cross decorated with exquisite miniature wood - cravings by Father Rafail. There is a marked path of the cave of Saint Ivan of Rila which lies approximately 4 km away from the Monastery. Later the Church of the Assumption of St. Ivan of Rila was built near the cave. It was renovated in 1820. In 1961 Rila Monastery was declared as National Museum. In 1876 it was declared as National Historical Reserve and in 1983 it was included in the List of World Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. 

Rila monastery. Hrelyo’s tower, the Oldest building in the holy cloister was built in 1335 (14th century). It was the monastery’s fortress and also the place where monks dwelled in times of trouble. The Chapel of The Transfiguration of God is on the 5th and last floor of the 24 m-high tower, which is open for visitors in the summer and some of the 14th century wall-paintings can be seen through the window niches of the chapel.

There are around 300 rooms in the monastery, 100 of which are monastic cells. There is a museum which exhibits items providing information about the history of the monastery. The museum exhibition comprises valuable examples of Bulgarian and foreign art is the wooden cross decorated with exquisite miniature wood - cravings by Father Rafail.

    If you can make this journey in the early spring or late fall, you can easily wander around or find a place to sit and think, because of fewer tourists. The summer season is beautiful, very warm and crowded. During winter you can get the place to yourself, but make sure to dress Eskimo – style. According to Bulgarians and all the foreigners that have been in this region, this is one of the most beautiful and a must – see place before you leave the country!

    Book a private trip to The Rila Monastery. It doesn't matter the city you want to depart - Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, etc... We can arrange your one-day trip to this destination and many other in Bulgaria. If you choose our services you can be sure that you will have English-speaking driver, clean and air-conditioned car, which would make your vacation more pleasant and comfortable.

 

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Tuesday, 17 May 2022

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