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Published: July 16th 2004
Taken at about 8am.
After a few days in the bustle of Sophia we headed south to the Rila Monestary. Famed world wide for its beauty and tranquility. The slow journey by bus from Dupnitsa yielded successively more impressive views until we arrived.
We wandered around briefly, it is such a beautiful place, why so many police?
We couldn't stay too long as we needed to find a camp site. About 1.2km along the only road into the mountains is the Bor Camp site. Again the setting is beautiful, and on a friday evening we were one of about 3 tents, we set the tent in the middle of a meadowy area. Apart from a dog the decided to guard our tent during the night it was peaceful and comfortable.
I woke early went to the monestary and wandered around from 7.30am - 8.30am, it was so quiet during this period, occassionaly from behind a door a rustle of keys could be heard, a monk would walk out, walk a few meters bring out some keys and enter a new door. Then a few minutes later another door and another (or possibly the same) monk would repeat the process. In the center
A slightly different angle.
of the complex is a magnificant Bulgarian Orthodox Church, with amazing Fresco's painted all around. In the early hour I had the privalage to be one of 2-3 tourists in the monestary. I went back to campsite with sheep's yoghurt and a donut like thing and woke Sara. We made our way back to the monestary - now the numbers of police bcome clear. The monestary is a mecca for Bulgarian Hell's Angels (ok just motor-cyclists) - hundreds of Harley's and other assorted motorbikes, and many tour-buses poured up the road. Saturday, easily accessible from Sophia and a beautiful place - no wonder that there were so many tourists. Luckily we had a hike planned for most of the day - so we could return to the tranquility that the monestary no longer offered.
We hiked the following two days - I will add a separate entry for this in a while, and then spent a few more peaceful hours in and around the monestary.
I write from a very basic internet cafe in Dupnitsa so I can't upload any photos - they're currently trapped on my camera. Until then here are some facts about the Rila monestary,
A fresco on the ceiling of outside part of the Church of Mary and the Nativity in the Rila Monestary.
garnered from leaflets, guidebooks and information on the walls of the monestary.
About the Rila Monestary To Be Updated Location
In Southwestern Bulgaria about 120km from Sophia, nestling in the impressive Rila Mountains. Between two rivers, the Rilska and the Drushlyavitsa. The surrounding forests and mountains are accessible to hikers and paths lead to the Seven Lakes and the Rila Mountains, Mount Moussala at 2925m is about a days serious hike. History
Founded in the 10th century by the monk hermit, John of Rila, plundered and mostly destoryed during the Ottomon period 15th century, rebuilt, and then mostly destroyed again in the early 19th century by a huge fire. After the the fire enough donatations were recieved to allow the monastery to start to be rebuilt after only one year. Attractions
The monestary is beautiful, fantastic Frescos adorn the church of Mary and the Nativity which is in the centre of the complex. Home to Rapheal's Cross, a fabulous carved cross with miniture scenes carved into it, around 650 small figures on a cross only 80cm high. Accomodation and Supplies
The are 3-4 camp sites with in 2km, 3 hotels a few hundred meters
from the monestary and it is possible to stay in the monestary itself. A small shop for food is open 9-5pm weekdays. There are 3 public buses a day, 9am, 3pm and 5pm back to Dupnitsa.
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