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Rila Monastery, Rila

#1 of 6 in Things to do in Rila
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 .
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  • We were contemplating taking a bus tour which was around 100 Bulgarian Lev per person. This was an all day trip. We decided to drive (parking is 5 Bulgarian - all day) which I am glad we did. It...  more »
  • No photos allowed inside because of its sanctity and importance to their faith and religion and we have to honor that but you’ll really love the architectural design and its magnificent array of...  more »
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Duration:2​h 30​min
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