This is the grandest monastery in Bulgaria whose architectural and artistic magnificence have assigned it a worthy place in the List of World Culture and Natural Heritage under UNESCO protection since 1983. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery underwent several stages of construction. Its founder has been assumed to be St Ivan Rilski (John of Rila) , a renowned Bulgarian hermit and healer, protector of the Bulgarian people. Together with his disciples he set up a monastic community making up the core of Rila Monastery. Rebuilt, deserted, reduced to ashes by the Turks and built anew the monastery has been a witness and a symbol of the eventful Bulgarian history. On the outside the monastery has a severe and inaccessible appearance of an emphatically defensive character to give protection against the Turkish attacks.
YOUR RILA MONASTERY TOUR
On This Excursion you will visit the
- The Church
- The Museums
- The cave of the hermit of St. Ivan Rilski
*Available all year round
All the excursions must be booked at least 1 day in advance.
THINGS TO SEE
Inside the architecture of the courtyard facade is pleasing, articulate and enlivened by the great umber of staircases, arcades and balconies.Hrelyovata Kula ( Hrelyo’s Tower) is the only one of the old buildings that has survived. It had been built in 1335 by Sebastocrator Hielio in the monastery courtyard to serve as a defensive tower. It is 23m high and has a square plane. Its walls are 1.80m thick and were built mostly of broken stone and lime. The interior space of the tower is designed as a ground floor,diplomas, old-time weapons belonging to the monastery sentries, a great number of jewels, church plate, as well a Rafail`s Cross , an undeniable masterpiece of the art of woodcarving. The Rafail’s Cross The wooden cross, hand-made for a period of 12 years, by the Rila monastery monk called Rafail (dated before 1802) – it is 81 cm high and 43 cm wide. It features 104 scenes from the Bible and 650 separate figures. Including This One Of The Birth of Christ One of the scenes carved on the Rafail’s Cross – the Birth of Christ in the Bethlehem cave This monastery is surrounded by the Rila Mountain and to arrive there is a lovely drive of about 1 hour, which takes you through splendid scenery. Up in the mountains one can breathe the fresh air and imagine how this Saint lived in the 10th Century in a cave without any material possessions. This tour is ideal for religious believers but also for people that love nature and want to come in touch with this sacred place.
The Combined Rila Monastery – Blagoevgrad Excursion
After visiting the Rila Monastery we will head for Blagoevgrad – a town which emerged on the site of the ancient Thracian settlement Scaptopara, built in this very attractive place, blessed by warm mineral springs, fertile fields and virgin forest. Once in Blagoevgrad we will be Visiting:
- the old-time houses in Varosha District
- Vuvedenie Bogorodichno Church (Of the Presentation of Holy Virgin)
- house musem of Geogi Izmirliev
- Stoyan Sotirov
- Petit Bijou, etc.
- followed by a walk in the center where one can see the only American University in Bulgaria, the administrative buildings of the town and plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes.
BJR – Rila Monastery -Blagoevgrad
- Spaces subject to Availibility
- All the excursions must be booked at least 1 day in advance.
- We advise You To Book Early To Avoid Disappointment
- Available all year round