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.
Tours to Rila Monastery
Full-Day Rila Monastery, the cave of St.Ivan and Boyana Church Tour from Sofia BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $36
Duration: 7 to 8 hours
Rila Monastery reviews
This monastery is located where nature meets religion. So beautiful the craftsmanship is gorgeous, it is like a museum on the walls and ceiling. The whole monastery is full of history and story. I... more »
The monastery is simply beautiful (free entry) and nicely positioned in its green surroundings. You can enter the main building (definitely worth it) and climb the tower next to it (5BGN, not worth... more »
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