One Day Tours

Sofia - Rila Monastery

Rila monastery - regarded as one of the foremost masterpieces of Bulgarian National Revival architecture is the biggest and most spectacular in Bulgaria and one of Europe’s oldest monasteries. It is situated in the southwestern Rila Mountains, 117 km south of the capital Sofia in the deep valley of the Rilska River at 1 147 m above sea level. This is a place of mass pilgrimage for people coming from all over the world - an outstanding and vivid spiritual, cultural and religious centre with impressive historic, architectural and artistic values of world significance.

The sanctuary was founded by Ivan of Rila in the first half of the tenth century AD. The monastery acted as a depository of Bulgarian language and culture during the Ottoman rule. The entire complex is rather impressive for its size. The four-floor residential part consists of no less than 300 monks’ cells, four chapels, an abbot’s room, a kitchen and a library. Rila monastery was declared a National Historical Monument in 1976 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.