The 10 most beautiful Bulgarian monasteries to visit

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Martí Micolau

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The monasteries are an essential stopover during a stay in Bulgaria ... Whether in the mountains of the Balkan National Park, on the Romanian or Greek borders, in the Rila or Pirin national parks, on a rocky outcrop or embedded in a Cliff. Witnesses to the Orthodox faith and the turmoil of Bulgarian history, they have been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, making them hotbeds of resistance. Travel Bulgarian history as you learn about the 10 most beautiful Bulgarian monasteries !

The most breathtaking Rila monastery

A unique road that ends in a cul-de-sac will lead you to the most lavish Bulgarian monastery ! On its own, it is an open-air masterpiece, witness to the Bulgarian renaissance. Destroyed and rebuilt four times, it is UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. You will discover superb frescoes of Western inspiration on a set of 8m800.

Rila monastery

Batchkovo, the second largest Bulgarian monastery

30 kilometers south of Plovdiv, Batchkovo Monastery was founded by Georgian monks in the 1643th century. Its old refectory is a real gem: its frescoes, painted in XNUMX will leave you speechless just by entering the room. Also marvel at the Church of the Assumption and the Church of Saint Nicholas.

Batchkovo monastery

The monastery of Troyan and its miraculous icon

In the center of the Balkan National Park, this Bulgarian monastery is dedicated to Saint Mary. The icon representing Saint Mary with three hands (the third, cut off, is that of Saint John of Damascus) is considered miraculous by the faithful. Note that it is possible to sleep in the monastery in a former monk's cell!

The monastery of Troyan

The Monastery of the Transfiguration (Preobrazhensky) and its frescoes

On rugged terrain 7 kilometers north of Veliko Tarnovo, the Monastery of the Transfiguration is remarkable for its setting and frescoes painted by Zacharie Zographe. He was the greatest Bulgarian iconographer and frescoes have covered the exterior and interior of the church since the mid-XNUMXth century. Mecca of Bulgarian culture, we learned to make icons.

The Monastery of the Transfiguration

The Sokolski monastery, and its painted dome church

Built on the mountainside and offering a garden around a fountain, the monastery of Sokolski promises a most enjoyable visit. With its slate roof and exterior frescoes, the little church is really charming! In addition, this Bulgarian monastery is located in a beautiful tourist region. Don't miss the Etara ethnographic village, 4kms away.

Sokolski monastery

Basarbovo rock monastery

Head north of the country! On the border with Romania, the Orthodox monastery of Saint Dimitar Basarbowski is one of the Bulgarian cave monasteries and is the last one still active in Bulgaria. You will undoubtedly be amazed to discover this building with its painted balconies and rock-cut steps.

The stone monastery in Basarbovo

Glozhene, the monastery perched on the mountain

A narrow road and a dirt road will lead you to Glozhene, a small Bulgarian monastery in the mountains of Stara Planina. When you reach the top, you will discover a magnificent view of the surrounding nature : forests, steep rocks, waterfalls, etc. Here too it is possible to spend the night there (in a spartan way), to have dinner and have breakfast served by a monk!

Aerial view on Glozhene monastery

The Arapovo monastery and its cubic tower

Not far from Plovdiv, the Arapovo Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery founded in the mid-XNUMXth century. At the time of the Ottoman yoke, the monks were lodged in the three-story tower which is located in the center of the courtyard. Enjoy strolling through its very well maintained garden and stop by the shop where farm products are sold!

The Arapovo monastery

Rojen monastery and its vine trellis

Enter this haven of peace in southwestern Bulgaria, near the Greek border! With its paved courtyard, wooden balconies and vines on trellis, the Bulgarian and medieval monastery of Rojen is a place of serenity. You will also admire a beautiful panoramic view of the southern mountains and the sandy pyramids of Melnik.

Rojen monastery

The Dryanovo monastery, a historical witness

The monastery is located in the Balkan National Park, not far from Veliko Tarnovo. Located between the Monastery of the Transfiguration and that of Sokolski, it can be a nice stopover on your journey of discovery of Bulgarian monasteries. Founded in the XNUMXth century, it was destroyed and rebuilt twice by the Bulgarians.

Dryanovo monastery, winter

By visiting these Bulgarian monasteries, discover the history of the country! And if these discoveries make you want to see more, go to Greece to discover Meteora, a set of 6 monasteries perched on rocky pestles, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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