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The Rila monastery is located in Southwestern Bulgaria, Kyustendil province, Rila municipality. It is established in the 10 – th century by st. Ivan Rilsky, at the Rilska river. The monastery is one of the most valuable cultural monuments in the country, symbol of Bulgaria, included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. The now monastery is located near the village of Pastra: not far from it’s first establishment. This is the biggest monastery in Bulgaria: 5 floors, with visible 4 floors. This is because of the restrictions of the Ottoman rulers in 1834, when the nowaday buildings have been created. In the ground floor is situated the museum.

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery is historical and cultural site in the Rhodope Mountains of southwestern Bulgaria. It is situated in a valley of the Rila massif, 70 miles (110 km) south of Sofia. Rila is a symbol of Bulgarian national identity, and it is the most prominent monastery of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery

Bulgaria’s Rila Monastery is a symbol of national identity representing the persistence of Bulgarian culture and faith despite centuries of foreign rule.

Sveti Ivan Rilsky monastery has been built between the years 927 – 941 by Ivan Rilsky (or accordingly to some authors by his disciples) in the Rila mountain. In the yard of the present monastery has been built defense tower and small church by the local ruler Hrelyo. The tower is the oldest existing building in the monastery complex and has the architecture of the Tarnovo art style.

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery

Today the monastery holds 8800 square meters of territory, the built territory is 5500 square meters. The monastery wings surround the yard from all sides forming a pentagon.

In 1961 the monastery is announced as National museum “Rila Monastery”. In 1968 the monks were returned in the building, and from 1983 is under the protection of UNESCO. The monastery contains a lot of letters, books and documents dating from 14 – th to 19 – th century.

The monastery offers accommodation while the area around it has grown into a developed tourist centre with plenty of restaurants and hotels.

Bulgaria is a beautiful sunny country, small in size but rich in ancient culture, scenic splendour, friendly people and old-fashioned warmth and hospitality. In spite of its relatively small territory (110 912 sq km), the country has various landscape.

Bulgaria - Rila

Bulgaria – Rila

The scenery changes subsequently from white sandy beaches, to vast plains and high mountains. A continental climate with hot summers and cold winters makes the country a popular beach resort while offering good skiing in the winter.

Located in the south-east of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria borders Romania to the North, the Black Sea to the East, Turkey and Greece to the South, Serbia & Montenegro and Macedonia to the West. The river Danube forms the country’s northern frontier and offers quick access to Central Europe. A crossroads location between Europe and Asia facilitates transport flows through the country.

Bulgaria - Rila

Bulgaria – Rila

The highest mountain range is the Rila Mountains situated in southwest Bulgaria (highest peak Musala at 2,925m) occupied in the main by the Rila National Park where there are many large glacial lakes and hot springs. It is also where the popular ski resort of Borovets is located and the magnificent Rila Monastery.

Bulgaria - Rila

Bulgaria – Rila

The Pirin Mountains, again in the southwest of the country (highest peak Vihren 2,914m), is mainly covered in coniferous forest where many large mammals can be found. It is also where the town of Bansko is situated, famous for its International winter sports activities.

Bulgaria - Rila

Bulgaria – Rila

The Rhodope Mountains in the southeast (highest peak Golyam Perelik 2,191m) famous for its lakes, caves and gorges is home to the Pamporovo ski resort. This beautiful and untamed area has very few inhabitants and contains over 15 reserves with many species of birds of prey.

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