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Centralnorth Bulgaria > Elena > Surrounding areas

Surrounding areas of Elena

The Saint Nikola Kapinovski Monastery  (at the distance of about 25 km to the north-west of Elena) was founded in 1272 during the reign of Tsar Konstantin Assen-Tih. It is one of the most impressive monasteries in Bulgaria. It was a religious, cultural and revolutionary centre during the Ottoman Rule. In 1630 it was devastated by fire and in 1793 by kurdzhalii (Turkish brigands) after which it was rebuilt as a fortress and the monks themselves took the defence of the Monastery in their own hands. At the end of the 18th century Father Superior of the Monastery was Sofronii Vrachhanski who brought here the copy of Slavonic-Bulgarian History of Paisii Hilendarski made by himself. The History was read and copiedbehind the thick monastery walls, aimed at being spread throughout Bulgarian land and enlightening souls and hearts. In 1835 the plotters of Velchos Conspiracy found shelter in the monastery. The rebellious Captain Mamarchev repeatedly visited the monastery. The monks planned an uprising with Hadzhi Stavri from the Lyaskovski Monastery but they did not succeed. The restored in 1835 monastery church, work of masters from Dryanovo is of special interest to visitors. The Composition Doomsday covering the whole external wall of the church is distinguished for its high artistic value. Yoan Popovich from Razgrad painted it in 1840.

There is a bus line from Veliko Turnovo to the Monastery and the nearest railway station is Debelets (at the distance of 15 km north-west). There is an entire tourist settlement located amongst picturesque surroundings nearby the Monastery.

Saint Iliya Plachkovo Monastery (near the village of the same name, at the distance of 2-3 km north-west of the Kapinovski Monastery) was founded during the reign of Tsar Ivan Assen II, but it was destroyed when the country succumbed to Ottoman Rule (only ruins called Balaklii remained from it, located not far from the todays monastery). It was ruined five times and it was rebuilt for the last time in 1845, after the pogrom, which followed Velchos Conspiracy with the active participation of Kolyu Ficheto. It is namely in relation to the Conspiracy that the greatest glory of this ecclesiastical cloister was achieved. In 1835 the serious merchant from Turnovo Velcho Atanasov  Dzhamdzhiyata (the Glazier), Captain Georgi Mamarchev, Hadzhi Y. Bradata (the Beard) and several other plotters planned an uprising against the Ottomans in the region of Turnovo. A traitor brought the Turks to the monastery (the fundamental base of the plotters). The greater part of the plotters were slaughtered, the uprising was crushed, and the monastery became subject to plunder, destruction and fire. The holy place was often visited by Sofronii Vrachanski and Neofit Bozveli. In 1856 Master Kolyu Ficheto built up the high monastery belfry, the church and probably  the residential part of the building. There are several extraordinary icons in the monastery, the most valuable of them Christ Great Prelate (work of Zakhari Zograf (the Icon-painter) is a masterpiece of art. The transport connections are the same in relation to the Kapinovski Monastery.

Yovkovtsi Dam spreads its waters at the distance of 4-5 km west of Elena  a perfect site for recreation, water motor sports, sunbathing, water tourism and fishing. There is tourist infrastructure, too. The regular buses running into the direction of the above-mentioned monasteries, Kilifarevo and Debelets can be used.

Elena is a point of departure for hiking tours around the Elena - Tvurditsa Balkan Mountain (refer to the Stara Planina related section herein).

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