Rila Monastery In Bulgaria, One Of The Most Beautiful In The World

Located in the southwestern part of Bulgaria, The Rila Monastery is characterized by religious harmony and energy, with sanctuaries scattered along the green slopes that enclose it. It is visited by thousands of tourists every year, who come to see the architecture, learn about its history and admire the splendid surroundings.

The unique Rila Monastery is one of the most beautiful religious structures in the world. It’s a true treasure and delight for your eyes. It all started in the middle ages, when a monastery was founded close to the location of the present-day Rila Monastery.

The Rila Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery, situated in the narrow gorge of the Rilska River, in the southwestern foothills of Rila, at an altitude of 935 m above sea level. It is the largest and most famous of the medieval monasteries in Bulgaria, and has been referred to as one of the “Splendour of Bulgaria”. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

The monastery was founded in 927 by Bulgarian Tsar Peter I (r. 927-969) who made it his endowment as part of a large monastic community which included a cathedral church, a dining hall, cells and other buildings. The main church was named after Saint Ivan Rilski (St John of Rila), whose relics were kept there.

Frescos on the facade of The church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the main church in Rila monastery, painted 1840-1847

The frescoes date from the time of their completion until the late 17th century. They cover almost all wall space inside the church and depict stories from the Bible and various legends about Cyril and Methodius and other saints important to the Medieval Bulgarian Orthodox Church. In 1930 professor Pancho Vladigerov discovered in a remote corner of the monastery walls a secret room containing more than 50,000 medieval manuscripts from the 11th to 18th century AD

The monastic complex features two churches: St Ivan Rilski (St John of Rila) built in 1335 and St Nikolai (St Nicholas) from 1830 to 1833. In addition, there are over 30 other buildings that make up the complex including three museums – History, Folk Art and Natural History. There is also a seminary, a library, a printing house, the Patriarchal Residence known as Krichim Palace and a Hospital for monks. The monastery has played a key role in preserving Bulgarian culture during some turbulent times: it kept Bulgaria’s medieval literature safe from destruction during Ottoman rule by burying them on monastery grounds; during Communist rule, it served as a shelter for intellectuals who were banned from publishing their work.

The monastery was damaged several times by Ottoman conquerors and earthquakes, but it was restored each time. The rich architecture and frescoes of Rila Monastery are among the most beautiful in Bulgaria.

If you want to visit a place with a lot of history and culture, one of the best places in the world is Rila Monastery. A place where time seems to have stopped and where you can enjoy peace and tranquility.

The Rila Monastery is one of the most beautiful and iconic religious sites in Bulgaria, and it’s one well worth seeing. Whether you enjoy history or have an interest in Bulgarian culture, this is a breathtaking destination that you will never forget once you visit it.


While this site is mostly used for Orthodox ceremonies, there are no rules against non-believers visiting its attractive buildings. The caretakers will gladly show you around, so be sure to visit the Rila Monastery if you find yourself in Bulgaria!

Every traveller hopes to roll back their memory lane, taking photos and videos of beautiful sceneries around the world. If you are travelling to Bulgaria, you should include Rila Monastery as one of your places to visit.

The place holds rich history and is a perfect destination for every traveller. So, if you are planning a trip to Bulgaria, don’t forget to include Rila Monastery in it.

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