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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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1,505 reviews
  • It is worth approaching the monastery because it is a really pretty building. Interestingly, the landscape and architecture. Do not charge for entry. The Church is beautiful and more interesting if they are officiating. There are two museums that make you pay and did not seem to us to be interesting. There is also a tower which can be reached by 5 camshaft. Upstairs there is a very small chapel, but there are only remains of the frescoes that are hardly seen. I do not recommend it. In short, my recomedacion is entering the Church and walk around the monastery. It's worth the time.
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  • To reach it there climbs on the back of the mountain. It is in fact an oyster: high stone walls outside (22mt), in an elegant Renaissance iso. Many frescoes of ethnographic value, not artistic, but to observe with interest. Around the mountain and the whistle of the wind which shakes the treetops. To see!
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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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