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Rila Monastery, Rila

#1 of 6 in Things to do in Rila
Visit Rila Monastery, the oldest religious center in the Slavic world, to appreciate the harmony between architecture and painting. The students of St. Ivan of Rila built the monastery in the 10th century near the hermit ascetic's cave and tomb. This World Heritage site is a cultural and spiritual center of Bulgarian national consciousness. The main church features beautiful frescoes and a gold-plated iconostasis, famous for its wood carvings. Don't miss Rafail's Cross in the monastery museum, which depicts 104 religious scenes and includes 650 miniature figures. At the end of the 18th century, a monk named Rafail used magnifying lenses to whittle the wooden cross. It took him 12 years to complete the cross, and the work cost him his sight. Plan your Rila Monastery visit and explore what else you can see and do in Rila using our Rila trip itinerary builder tool .
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Rila Monastery Reviews
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1,622 reviews
  • Of course you have to visit this monastery outside the high season. When you enter the courtyard, you will be oversized. Walled with the monks ' stays, huge galleries. The church is a gem of art. Inside you cannot make a photographs, but outside there are still a lot of frescoos to photograph. The bell tower is very beautiful. There are several parking spaces. Outside the monastery there is an info panel with signposted walks.
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  • This is a missed visit. Just under two hours from Sofia. Already the road to the monastery is worth it. Beautiful landscapes and places to stop to take pictures. The monastery has a large size. You pay 5 cams for the parking and the entrance to the monastery is free. You should take care of the clothing as it is not allowed to enter the English with uncovered arms and legs the frescoes from the outside are perfectly well preserved and are wonderful. To enter the museum you pay an economic ticket. It's worth a look. With a short walk along a beautiful path you will reach the monastery cemetery. Everything in this place is worth being seen.
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  • Beautiful monastery that would have once been secluded and peaceful. Today there are coaches loaded with tourists (including myself) so not so serene. Worth a visit but watch your ankles on the ancient and uneven cobblestones.
  • An amazingly mesmerizing experience. Beautiful architecture rich history and a must-see for Bulgaria. Good selection of authentic restaurants.
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