Some of the nicest Bulgarian Orthodox monasteries are loacted in the Veliko Tarnovo region. The monasteries are rich in history, decorated with colourful fresoces and interesting to visit.
St. Peter and Paul Monastery, Lyaskovets
This monastery, situated on the highest hill in the area over-looking the village of Dragizhevo, is one of the smallest but also one of the best maintained. It perches high on the rocks of the Arbanasi plateau and this explains why, through history, it has remained largely untouched. Today it is easy to access by road from Lyaskovets. The panoramic views from the monastery’s landscaped grounds make this worth a visit.
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Kapinovski Monastery, Kapinovo
Saint Nikola the Miracle Worker
Nestled in the forest and close to river pools and waterfalls, this monastery is a beautiful example of a Bulgarian village monastery. It was originally constructed in 1272 according to the foundation stone in the cornice above the altar. However, the monastery has been repeatedly destroyed over the years and the present refurbishment was started in 1835 by two self-taught craftsmen from Dryanovo. If you are lucky a monk will accompany you on a tour of the monastery’s many rooms and gardens.
Preobrajenski Monastery, Veliko Tarnovo
“The Transfiguration Monastery”
The monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery located in the Dervent gorge of the River Yantra. It is thought that the monastery was founded in the 11th century AD. The cross-shaped church features icons and frescoes which were painted by Sahari Zograf who worked in the monastery between 1849 and 1851. Among the more notable murals are those of the Last Judgment and the Wheel of Life. In addition, the main church was richly decorated on the outside and a wood-carved and gold-plated Icon display can also be seen. Today the monastery is operating and monks and priests can be seen working. They produce a rakia with honey from their on-site bees. The views from this monastery are breathtaking.
Dryanovo Monastery, Dryanovo
The Dryanovo Monastery is a functioning Bulgarian Orthodox monastery situated in the Andaka River Valley, in Bulgarka Nature Park. It was founded in the 12th century, during the Second Bulgarian Empire and is dedicated to Archangel Michael. It was twice burnt down and pillaged during the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria and it was restored to its current situation in 1845. It was the site of one of the bloodiest battles during the period when Bulgaria was fighting to become free from Turkish rule. Famous figures such as Vasil Levski (who the campsite road is named after) were here and the cannon-ball holes in the monastery walls are legacies of this battle.
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Kilifarevo Monastery, Kilifarevo
The monastery was founded about 1348 – 1350 under the rule of King Yoan Aleksandar. Famous St. Teodosis of Tarnovo had searched for a calm, secluded site. The monastery grew to become an important literary and spiritual centre of the Tarnovo Kingdom. The monastery was destroyed by the Ottoman invaders and was uninhabited for a long period of time. The contemporary Kilifarevo Monastery was built in 1718 at the foot of the previous ruins. Today it is a working monastery and the beautiful tranquil gardens are a pleasure to walk in. If you have time, walk toward the town of Kilifarevo to see the tradition of washing rugs in the river using ancient technology in the village of Natsovtsi.
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