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Rila Monastery, Rila

#1 of 6 in Things to do in Rila
Must see · World heritage site · Religious Site · Historic 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. 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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Rila Monastery reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
1,893 reviews
  • The most beautiful and inspiring monetary I’ve ever seen! Don’t miss the chimney in the museum as well as the food. Everything here is amazing.  more »
  • The Monastery and grounds were outstanding and beautiful. However almost the entire staff were intolerably rude and obnoxious. Without a doubt all who visit this Monastery are expected and should...  more »
  • Rila Monastery is one magical place in Bulgaria, which everyone person must see! Rila monastery is my favourite monastery. My pics are from 03rd of July 2011.  more »
  • Beautiful monastery set in an idyllic location. The architecture is stunning and fascinating to read about its rich history. Check out the murals, can you spot the four horsemen?
  • Truly a magical place. Once my wife and I went inside the main church, both of us felt some special connection. The whole road towards the monastery is also very beautiful and passes through dense mountain forests. Best way to explore the place is to go by a rental car.
  • Beautiful, me and my friend visited Sofia for 2 weeks, this was definitely one of the highlights. Bulgaria is beautiful, thank you from the UK 🇬🇧
  • One of the greatest places on Earth. Not only is the monestery and surrounding area beautiful, but it also tells part of Bulgarian history. A couple of hours from Sofia with a car, and the road was well kept overall.
  • Incredible place, clean air all the way, interesting history and stunning drawings inside the monastery! I HIGHLY recommend to visit even if you are far away and not from Bulgaria. The place is breathtaking! ☺️

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