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Bulgarian Mountains > Rhodopes > Bachkovo Monastery

Bachkovo Monastery

Located on the right bank of the Chepelare Rriver (Chaya), above the Plovdiv-Smolyan road, 29 km away from Plovdiv, 89 km away from Sofia and 10 km away from Assenovgrad. This is the second in size and importance monastery in Bulgaria - a real Holy Cloister. A prominent Byzantine statesman, of Georgian origin, founded it in 1083. It does not look the same as it was when established because it was destroyed by fire more than once and then restored. The only part from its original structure that has survived is the charnel-house with an interesting architectural design. Another building, which has survived, is the Saint Archangels Church dating back to the 12th century, the ground floor of which was painted by Zachari Zograf and his students in the year 1841. Unique frescoes were discovered in the dining room of the monastery featuring ancient philosophers and writers. Sveta Bogoroditsa (The Holy Virgin) Cathedral Church (dating from 1604) is the place where a most valuable icon of the Holy Virgin Eleussa, dated from 1310 is kept (brought from Georgia). The museum of the Monastery has a rich exhibition of church plate, icons, books, the sword of Friedrich Barbarossa, the Crusader, the Sultans firman from 1452, the wood-carved cross with miniatures.  A fresco of the Doomsday, painted by Zachari Zograf in 1850 is retained in St. Nicholai Church and it is one of the most interesting pieces of art of Bulgarian Revival. It is believed that Patriarch Evtimii was exiled by the Turks and died here. The broad branches of a Diasperus Lotus tree (dzhindzhifa), brought from Georgia more than two centuries ago stretch over the courtyard. Bachkovo Monastery is directly subordinated to the Holy Synod. Accomodation for more than 200 people is provided in its buildings, against a few Leva only. A real tourist settlement clusters around the monastery with lots of shops, restaurants and a big camping site. There is a tourist hostel in the near-by village of Bachkovo (1 km away) which has 54 beds in rooms of 4, 6 and more beds. Lodging can be found in the town of Assenovgrad as well.

Mountain hiking routes start from the Monastery: to Martsiganitsa Chalet (4 hours) in the Dobrostan Massif, to Bezovo Chalet (3.30 hours) again in the Dobrostan Massif, to Momina Salza Chalet (via Bachkovo 2.30 hours).

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