If you still haven't decided to visit Bulgaria after my 7 reasons to do so, this may be the right inspiration to come here.
Rila Monastery is the most gorgeous, peaceful and authentic place in Bulgaria I've been so far. It's a huge tourist attraction and during the summer it's crowded with tourists from all over the world. In my opinion the secret of the fame of the Rila Monastery is pretty simple – it's because the monastery is very photogenic. I'll prove you later in this article.
Rila Monastery is situated in the highest mountain in Bulgaria and the Balkans – Rila. It is also one of the 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria, designated in 1983.
As I said the monastery is a key tourist attraction in Bulgaria. In 2008 alone the monastery attracted 90 000 visitors.
Rila Monastery is founded in the 10th century by the hermit St. Ivan of Rila. He actually lived in a cave without any material possessions not far from the monastery's location. His students built the complex when they came to the mountains to recieve their education.
The Rila Monastery also preserved the Bulgarian language and culture in the ages of Ottoman rule.
The monastery has 24-meter stone walls which forms irregular pentagon. The church has five domes, three altars and two side chapels. The gold-plated iconostasis is one of the most precious items inside the church. It is famous for its wood-carving, which took five years to be created by 4 handicraftsmen.
The main church “The Nativity of the Virgin” is covered inside and out by lots of paintings and frescos which show Biblical stories about the Baptism of Jesus Christ, the Day of Judgement, Adam and Eve.
There is a museum located in the monastery – it has rich collections of icons, historical collection of 35 000 exponents, wood-carvings, cultural and ethnographical items and many more. The monastery has also its own, very rich library – about 250 manuscript books from 11th – 19th century, 9000 old-printed books, manuscripts and so on.