Troyan Monastery

Above all, the Troyan Monastery is famous for the creative work of Zahari Zograph who painted both the exterior and the interior of the church (a rare practice at the time). The cloister is a fine example of the impact of the popular conception of the world and the influence of housing architecture on religious construction.
Here, Zahari Zograph repeated the social and moral "experiments" in religious painting (the compositions Doomsday and the Wheel of Life), left his second self-portrait signed with amazing self confidence in spite of the Ottoman bondage, and painted the figures of Bulgarian and Russian saints. Furthermore, he painted a completely secular group portrait of the monastic brotherhood in the refectory - something highly unusual at the time. A chronicle dates back the foundation of the monastery in the year 1600, unfortunately, nothing but the stone throne of the church remains from the time.
The Troyan Monastery belongs completely to the Bulgarian National Revival period. Eminent men of letters worked here during the mid-18th century, and a School was also founded. The patriotic mission turned into a tradition. In 1872, Vassil Levski set up here a secret revolutionary committee, which was joined by all the monks headed by abbot Macarius. Four years later, the monastery became a citadel of the 1876 April Uprising.
Fortunately, most of the great works of old and National Revival art have survived. The iconostasis of the main church, made in 1839, is a masterpiece of woodcarving. Amazing in its originality, is the much earlier (1794) carving of the holy altar gates in the St. Nikola Chapel. The icons introduce us once again to the best known National Revival artists: the Samoltovians Dimitar Zograph and Nikola Obrazopissov, Tryavna's Simeon Tsonyuv, Dossyu Koyuv, Koyu Tsenyuv, and Theodossius Koyuv Vitanov. Particularly valuable among the multitude of manuscripts and incunabula are the 17th century Troyan Homilies. Furthermore, the monastery's "printery" in which fine graphic works, including many landscapes, were made, was widely known.