The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, known as the Rila Monastery
The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, known as the Rila Monastery is the biggest and most storied Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria.
A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983 the monastery grew from 10th – century hermit’s hut and has been rebuilt many times since.
His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation.
How to get there?
There is a daily bus to Rila Monastery, departure every day at 10:20 am from Ovcha Kupel Station (West Bus Station). You can reach the station by tram from the Palace of Justice (remember Tram № 5). The bus arrives around 13:00 and it leaves to Sofia at 15:00 and is back in the city around 17:30. Return ticket cost 22 BGN (11 EUR) and you buy it from the driver.
What to see?
The monastery compound (open 6 am to 10 pm) includes a main church and two museums, guest rooms and a post office.
- Church of Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno (Church of the Navity: Rila Monastery), Bulgaria grandest monastery church. Free Entrance!
- The monastery museum (08:00 am to 17:00 pm) Entrance – 8 lv. The centerpiece is the astonishing Rila Cross.
- Ethnographic museum (08:00 am to 17:00 pm) Entrance – 8 lv.
- The nearby 23m-high stone Hreliova Tower
- The monastery kitchen (1816) is in the northern wing’s courtyard.
- The upper balcony offer outstanding views of Rila Monastery.