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Rila Monastery, Rila

Visit Rila Monastery, the oldest religious center in the Slavic world, to appreciate the harmony between architecture and painting. The students of St. Ivan of Rila built the monastery in the 10th century near the hermit ascetic's cave and tomb. This World Heritage site is a cultural and spiritual center of Bulgarian national consciousness. The main church features beautiful frescoes and a gold-plated iconostasis, famous for its wood carvings. Don't miss Rafail's Cross in the monastery museum, which depicts 104 religious scenes and includes 650 miniature figures. At the end of the 18th century, a monk named Rafail used magnifying lenses to whittle the wooden cross. It took him 12 years to complete the cross, and the work cost him his sight. Plan your Rila Monastery visit and explore what else you can see and do in Rila using our Rila trip itinerary builder tool .
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  • After about a 2 hour drive from Sofia, we arrived at Rila Monastery about 1000 meters up in the Rila mountains. This place was founded by St John in the 10th century and he was the primary person resp...  more »
  • So many stories drawing around and inside the building, I don't understand though. However, I was very impressive. The architecture is really beautiful and attractive. The weather was colder than down...  more »
  • A beautiful setting to breathtaking architecture. We hired a car from Sofia and took us under 2 hours to reach the monastery. Quite a rainy day but that didn’t change anything. Not many tourists at ar...  more »
Google
  • Really amazing monastery to visit! A long way by public transport, probably better to go with a tour. Beautiful setting with the mountains in the background as well. The architecture is pretty amazing. It’s really peaceful so best to spend a few hours to take it all in. There is a few restaurants close by also which is helpful.
  • A beautiful place in a magnificent setting. Most everything was burned in the 19th century so what you see if just about 100 years old and in very good condition. It’s a bit of a trip from Sofia but it will be worth it. Plan on making a day of it. The food choices there are limited so it would be a good idea to provide your own lunch.
  • One of the best Bulgarian monasteries. It is always good time to go there and spend some time. There is a special spirit around this magnificent place.
  • Unesco site. A must visit for both Bulgarians and foreigners. If you want to visit also museums and surroundings you need 3-4 hours. There is a parking just in front of the monastery. There are several restaurants around, so you can enjoy your stay.
  • Beautiful historic place, now being destroyed with too many construction sites around. Hard to park. Prices around are too high, also of the museum inside the monastery yard, which rejects...

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9 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM ROMANIA April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM CHINA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Tallinn & Sofia BY A USER FROM FINLAND May, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Sofia BY A USER FROM ISRAEL April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in Bulgaria, Bucharest & Istanbul BY A USER FROM CANADA July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 25 days in Sofia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 8 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM CYPRUS June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM CYPRUS June, kids, popular PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM CANADA June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Bulgaria BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Rila BY A USER FROM SERBIA June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Bulgaria, Bucharest & Athens BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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