"Bachkovo monastery" Bachkovo Things to Do Tip by mindcrime

Bachkovo Things to Do: 5 reviews and 18 photos

  Bachkovo monastery
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  • Bachkovo monastery - Bachkovo
      Bachkovo monastery
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  • main gate of Bachkovo monastery - Bachkovo
      main gate of Bachkovo monastery
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  • mass at the church  - Bachkovo
      mass at the church
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  • inner yard of Bachkovo monastery - Bachkovo
      inner yard of Bachkovo monastery
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Bachkovo monastery is not only the second monastery in national significance for Bulgaria (after the one in Rila) but also a place where you can enjoy an beautiful monastery with great architecture with 2 great churches that house some amazing murals and paintings.

It was founded in 1083 by the Grigorii Bakuriani and has been developed as a centre of Georgian monkhood. Due to its origin the monastery combines 3 cultures:byzantine, Georgian and Bulgarian, it had its great period during the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396). In 1344 the area came under the rule of Bulgarian king Ivan Alexander that renovated Bachkovski monastery (there’s still a portrait of him at the arcs of the bone-vault’s narthex). In 1393 when Turnovo Kingdom fell from power the monastery became the prison of the last Bulgarian Patriacrh Euthymius who was exiled.

Then it was ransacked by the ottoman turks and felt in decadence. After almost 3 centuries (end of 16th century) the reconstruction began and the present monastery church of Virgin Mary was built. In the middle of 19th century donations from Cholakovi brothers were used for new expansion and the St Nikola church was built with some great paintings by Bulgarian artist Zahari Zograf.

In our days (it is still a working monastery) we can also enjoyed its architecture and its rich collection of paintings.
There was no fee to get inside but as it is still a working monastery no photos are allowed inside although I took 2-3 just for VT after asking a guard.

We walked a bit at the main yard and then visited the church where the morning mass was taking place (it was early in the morning), a touching moment with locals standing silent listening to the priest, it must be impressive for those that are not familiar with the orthodox church but we also enjoyed it.

The museum of the monastery (formerly the kitchen) houses a rich exhibition of religious oriented items (mainly icons and books but also some other things like a church plate, coins etc).

The church of Virgin Mary Eleusa (that was built in 1604 following the Mount Athos churches sample) has some remarkable paintings (especially on western walls on both sides of the church entrance). The wood-carved iconostase is very interesting too but for the locals the most valuable item is the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary Eleusa that dates from 1310, a gift to the monastery by two Georgian travelers Atanasii and Okrapir. The icon was brought from Georgian monastery (the legend says that it flew to Bachkovo and “landed” in the area Kluviata. The locals come to see it, especially in Easter when the monks of the monastery transferred it to another church a bit away from the monastery (at Kluviata area) like they did during the ottoman period when they wanted to hide it from them.

At the southern wing of the monastery you can visit the dining room that was built in early 17th century and houses an extraordinary marble table from 1601 and also has some interesting murals from 1643.

The Ossuary (300m east of the monastery) is the only original building, a two-storey stone tomb from 11th century with frescoes by the Georgian painter Yoan Iviropulos.

There is also a small store selling paintings (religious themes of course) and some other stuff.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 29, 2012
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