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Rila Monastery, Rila

(950+ reviews on the web)
Religious Site
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. Use our Rila vacation planner to arrange your visit to Rila Monastery and other attractions in Rila.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We spent a night and attend the religious office in the morning. If you want to be a witness of the Orthodox monastic life this is the perfect place. The monastery is amazing and for the noxe is even more spectacular. The place is away from the large tourist crowds and provides a natural space for rest and reflection. We were almost to rebound because it is hard to get, but it is worth.
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  • One of those absolutely stunning sites in Bulgaria. The architecture, the frescos and the history make it one of the most important attractions in the country. It was still relatively cold in the begi...  more »
  • The place, the location, the atmosphere is evocative and mystical, but as soon as you walk through the door you are amazed with the complex. It is a marvel, there are no more qualifiers. Consists of several museums, interesting, but certainly the jewel in the Crown is the Church of the Nativity, which is one authentic past. The frescoes, both indoors and outdoors are impressive. Free entrance. Essential.
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Google
  • Wonderful place with amazing views. Mountains around the monastery are also great for walking there. Definetely worth seeing.
  • LARGE MONASTERY IN THE MOUNTAINS ABOUT A 2 HOUR DRIVE FROM SOFIA. BEAUTIFUL WALL PAINTINGS, WOODEN CARVED EXTERIOR. SPACIOUS COURTYARD. LOVELY VIEW OF THE NEARBY MOUNTAINS.
  • Extremely beautiful place in the middle of the montains.
  • Very nice place to visit. 5 stars.
  • Being the holiest place in Bulgaria, the Unesco listed Rila monastery, even under rains, attracted lot of tourists and pilgrims. The entrance colonnades surrounding the cathedral has colourful murals and painting covering all wall and domed-ceiling spaces, showing images not only the Saints, but also demons and the scenes in the hell, which was rarely seen in other cathedral. It take around 2 .5 hour to arrive there from Sofia by public bus and you need around 2 hours to explore the whole complex.