Rila Monastery
Bulgaria, Рила

The monastery is located 119 kilometers south of Sofia. It was founded in the X century by the hermit Ivan Rilsky. The main church of the monastery is distinguished by an exceptional wealth of interior decoration. The walls were painted between 1840 and 1848 by the best painters of that era. Twenty portraits of donors (ktitor) laid the foundation for Bulgarian secular painting, a realistic portrait. A wonderful example of woodcarving is the church gates of the 14th century, which are now kept in the historical museum of the Rila Monastery.
Here are rich collections of gold and silver utensils, old coins, weapons, jewelry, brocade, embroideries. The monastery’s library, which has over sixteen thousand volumes of books, contains 134 manuscripts of the 15th and 19th centuries, as well as many old-printed books and documents. The museum has a rich ethnographic collection of works of applied art and art crafts, which was composed of folk gifts coming from different parts of the country.

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