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Bulgaria HiLites: Rila Monastery

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Published on Oct 4, 2010

The Rila Monastery was founded in the first third of the l0th century by the Bulgarian monk St. Ivan of Rila - a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church, and his disciples. The tower 'Hrelyuva Kula' is the oldest building in the monastery. The ornate church of the 'Holy Virgin' was raised in the courtyard in 1837. It keeps the relics of Saint Ivan Rilski. The Holy Cloister -- a unity of material and spiritual culture, treasures various works of Bulgarian art, which are of high artistic value. There is a great collection of icons and paintings dating back to the 14th-19th century. The Rafail's cross with dimensions 81/43 cm is of great interest. It was made over a period of twelve years in the 17th century and shows 104 scenes and 650 small figures. Rila Monastery is the second largest monastery on the Balkan Peninsula and one of the most skillful Bulgarian masters of the time took part in its establishment and building.

The Rila Monastery is the largest and the most beautiful in Bulgaria. The second largest is the Bachkovo Monastery treasuring the miraculous and wonderful icon of the "Holy Virgin" dating back to 1310. The Troyan Monastery is known above all for the creative work of Zahari Zograph who painted both the exterior and the interior (a rare practice for the time), and is famous for the miracle working icon of the "Holy Virgin Troeruchitsa" and also for its wall paintings. Very rich in woodcarvings, icons and wall paintings are Preobrazhenski Monastery, Sokolovski Monastery, Rozhen Monastery and Kapinovo Monastery. As monastery sightseeing and tours gain popularity, the sacred monasteries and churches welcome tourists in well-furnished guest rooms where one can relax for a few days.

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