The most impressive monument from the Bugarian National Revival period rises amidst the rugged beauty of the Rila Mountain, just 120 km from Sofia.
Founded in the 10th century, several times destroyed and rebuilt, the Rila monastery has survived the times with the self-confidence of the most zealous guard of the Bulgarian spirit and language. Today it still fascinates its visitors with the pure and harmonious line of the buildings' exquisite colonnades, arches and vaults, the spacious rooms richly decorated with murals and the marvelous gold-plated iconostasis.
The monastery's most treasured historic and artistic monuments include the 14th century Hrelyu Tower, the five-domed Birth of the Blessed Virgin Church and the intriguing monastery kitchen from the 19th century.
The monastery also houses a rich museum collection of valuable old manuscripts and documents, charters and icons, an ethnographic exhibition of fabrics, jewelry, carpets and wrought iron objects, and a library containing more than 16,000 books.
In 1983 Rila Monastery was included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage