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Rila Monastery Museum In Rila Holy Monastery

100 National Tourist Sites

It is impossible to tell about the Rila Holy Monastery, because there are not enough words to describe this miracle of faith and architecture. Created in the 30s of the 10th century on the site of an old post house, the monastery was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. Its creator was the hermit monk Ioan Rilski, born around 876 in the village of Skrino, nestled in the folds of the Osogovo mountain. After his death in 946, this first and greatest Bulgarian saint was canonized in Sredets /Sofia/. After countless customs, his relics, which miraculously survived, were again returned to the renovated Rila Monastery in 1469. Yuzdeto is still an object of worship to this day. Reverend Ivan Rilski was declared an exceptional heavenly patron of the Bulgarian people and is revered reverently by all Bulgarians.

In the 14th century, the feudal lord Stefan Hreljo Dragovol turned the monastery into a well-fortified ensemble, which looks like a fortress from the outside, and surprises inside with the softness of the architectural forms: arches, colonnades, covered wooden stairs and carved porches. In the middle of the courtyard dominates the Hrel tower, to which a belfry was added in more recent times.

Fires burned the monastery to ashes in 1778 and 1833, but both times it was restored by Master Alexi. Between 1834 and 1837, the main church “Nativity of the Virgin” was built with a fantastically beautiful iconostasis. It was painted by the best icon painters of that time: Dimitar and Simeon Molerovi from the Ban Art School, Zahari Zograf, his brother Dimitar and his nephew Stanislav Dospevski from the Samokov School.

The monastery has an extremely rich library, which stores about 250 manuscript books from the 11th-19th centuries, 9,000 old printed editions, notated manuscripts and Renaissance graphic prints, and the museum is a real treasure with its 35,000 historical exhibits, works of applied art, wood carvings, cult and ethnographic objects. Not to mention the rich collection of icons.

It is impossible to see everything in this cradle of the Bulgarian spirit, history, culture and art, but no matter how little time you have, you should not miss two things: the miraculous icon of the Holy Virgin Hodigitria /Guide/, supposedly donated by Mara , sister of Tsar Ivan Shishman and wife of Sultan Murad the First.

The second unique work is the cross, made with fine chisels, magnifying lenses and carved with a needle by the monk Raphael, born in the Radomir village of Kalishta. In 12 years, he managed to carve 104 religious scenes, 36 moments from the life of Jesus Christ, and another 650 small figures on a piece of wood measuring only 81 by 43 centimeters. The monk paid for the creation of this incredible masterpiece with the loss of his sight.

The Rila Monastery was declared in 1983 by UNESCO as a cultural monument of world importance.

Work time:
without a day off, as follows: 8:30 – 16:30 – on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
June 1 – September 30: 8:30 – 19:30.
I. Main monastery church “Nativity of the Holy Virgin”: Mon. – Thurs.: 6:30 ÷ 19:00 h.Fri. – Sun.: 6:30 ÷ 19:30 h.
II. Museum complex /01.06 – 30.09/:
1. Ecclesiastical-historical museum: 8:30 ÷ 19:30 h.
2. Monastery farm from the XIX century: 8:30 ÷ 16:30 h.
3. Icon exhibition: 8:30 ÷ 16:30 h.
4. Ethnographic expositions (8:30 a.m. ÷ 4:30 p.m.): Carpets Costumes Jewelry Household room XIX century
5. Ethnographic guest rooms (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.): Koprivshtenska Tetevenska Chirpanska Kyustendilska Gabrovska
6. Hrelova tower from the XIV century: 8:30 ÷ 16:30 h. For the opening of sites 3 ÷ 5, contact the staff at the Church-History Museum.

Entrance fees:
Church-historical museum:
– adults – BGN 8
– students, pensioners, fraternities – BGN 2
– family ticket: adult – BGN 4; child – BGN 2.

Hrel tower:
– adults – BGN 5
– students, pensioners, fraternities – BGN 2
– family ticket: adult – BGN 3; child – BGN 2.

Icon gallery:
– adults – BGN 3
– students, pensioners, fraternities – BGN 2
– family ticket: adult – BGN 2; child – BGN 1.

Monastery farm museum:
– adults – BGN 4
– students, pensioners, fraternities – BGN 2
– family ticket: adult – BGN 3; child – BGN 2.

Ethnographic museum and guest rooms:
– adults – BGN 5
– students, pensioners, fraternities – BGN 2
– family ticket: adult – BGN 4; child – BGN 2.

Combined ticket for all exhibitions – BGN 20.

– talk in Bulgarian – 15 BGN
– talk in English – 25 BGN
– duration of the talk: about 50 min.

+359 896 872 016
+359 7054 3383
+359 7054 2208

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