Bulgarias Magnificent Monastery: Rila Monastery
The magnificent Rila Monastery suddenly emerges in the southwest Rila Mountains. It is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria and being only a two hour drive from Sofia, during my time in Bulgaria’s capital I made sure to incorporate a visit to the beautiful architectural monument.
Founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonised by the Orthodox Church, his isolated dwelling and tomb formed the location of a holy site which has eventually transformed into a monastic complex. The site was soon a spiritual and holy place of importance in medieval Bulgaria. The breathtakingly beautiful monastery has been restored in the 15th and again in the 19th century after being destroyed by a fires and the monument now symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation.