Bulgaria Attractions :: Rila Monastery
The Rila Monastery is an architectural work of enormous dimensions, an apogee of the work of the renaissance craftsmen, icon-painters, wood-carvers, artisans in the artistic area where architecture and the decorative and monumental painting of stone, wood and metal are combined.
Founded in the 10th Century...
The Rila Monastery was founded in the l0th century by the Bulgarian monk St. John of Rila and was rebuilt in the l3th -l4th century. From that time, date the fortress tower (1334), the bishop's throne, richly carved doors and some manuscripts, icon-paintings and church plates.
In the l5th century, when Bulgaria fell to the Ottoman Turks, the monastery was abandoned for a short time but in the second half of the same century it was restored to new life. The Rila Monastery is listed as a world monument of culture.
Access is difficult, but the experience is well-worth the effort.
Situated high up in the Rila Mountains, the monastery is not easy to reach. From the town of Rila, the monastery is still some 25 km away.
The building has four levels of colorful balconies with some 300 cells, kitchens, guard rooms, a hospital, chapels and even a winery. From the top balcony you have splendid views of the surrounding Rila Mountains. In the center of the courtyard, there is a beautiful church with amazing frescos. The best time to visit the monastery is weekdays (far fewer tourists) and during the early morning or sunset.
The World of Art - Orthodox Monastery and Churches – Detailed multi-page presentation of the history and current day operation of The Rila Monastery. Extensive photo gallery.
Interactive History Map of Bulgaria - Historic reserves, Monasteries, Churches, Ruins, Monuments – The Bulgarian cultural legacy! Click on an icon over the interactive map and you will get a lot of information about the chosen subject and the surrounding areas. The map is updated daily.