History

Discover RILA MONASTERY

Have a touch of this magnificent place in the beautiful Rila Mountain. Somewhere between the Rilska and Drushliavitsa rivers and about 120km south of Sofia is the most significant and big monastery in our country founded in the 10th century – The Rila Monastery. There are about 40 active male monasteries on the territory of the country, one of which is this monastery.

Getting there

Possible by public bus from Ovcha Kupel bus station or private shuttle from Alexander Nevski Cathedral.

Acccommodation

The monastery allows overnight stays. Dormitory and private rooms are available.

Information

If you need any further information, check the website rilskimanastir.org where you can find all you might need.

More about the MONASTERY

It is believed that its name comes from the first Bulgarian hermit, John Rilski, who settled in the area and gave himself only 7 years of fasting and prayer. The saint’s relics are displayed in the main church “Nativity of the Virgin” of the complex. In the monastery’s yard, you can see the well-preserved Hrelyova Tower – 25 meters, a medieval defensive tower dating from the year 1335.

On the last 5th floor, there is a small church “Transfiguration of the Lord”, a bell tower and a clock. A carpenter’s workshop, a monastery bookstore, a library and, of course, the church-historical museum ( 8 leva fee) are only part of the wonders of the beautiful monastery complex, which is quite impressive because of its size.

It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Photo by Calvin Mollett

It is important to know if you visit these sacred lands during the warm days of the year that the monastery is strictly forbidden to admit people with shorts, short skirts, jerseys and other scarce clothing. In the vicinity, just 4 km away, on a steep and narrow path is the cave of the saint, where he lived in solitude for many years.

A legend says that whoever can get out of the cave through the narrow hole between the rocks, is sinless.

Nearby there is a magical place with a fountain which, if you leave a sheet with a written sincere desire, will come true. Believe in your dreams and boldly write your most sincere desires! Enjoy the walk in this wonderful holy place.

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