Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The 7 day circuit to Bulgaria - Day 6 (The Monastery of Rila) - the 17th of June 2011

The morning of day six was entirely dedicated to visiting the Rila Monastery which according to several accounts was founded in the 10th century by the monk hermit John of Rila, together with his disciples (though the present appearance of the ensemble is from the 19th century). 

The moment we walked into the Doupnitsa (western) gate and sighted the principal Cathedral church we were fascinated ...

The western entrance gate

The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin is a five-dom church with three altar niches, two side chapels and an open arcade gallery, which we visited before actually visiting its interior. Impressive as the various compositions depicting religious scenes and subjects from the Gospel were, we were told those to be found inside were even more impressive.

The church of the Nativity of the Virgin

Mural paintings at the open galery of the principal church.

God Savaot - a fresco from the Southern section of the nartex of the Nativity of the Virgin Principal Church painted by masters from Samokov in 1843. 

A wall paiting from the open gallery depicting the image of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the composition, surrounded by a great number of angels.

The Hrelyu Tower, the belfry and the small shop

Rising in the middle of the courtyard was a high stone fortress known as the Hrelyu Tower because of having been built by the local feudal Sebastocrator Hrelyu in 1334. The small belfry and shop added to it in 1844.

The construction of the residential wings surrounding the monastery was carried out in several stages from 1817 through to 1847. They comprise  about 300 monastic cells, four chapels, an abbot's room, a refectory, a kitchen, a library and guest rooms.

Verandahs overlooking the inner courtyard and protruding as separate architectonic bodies added a different "touch" to the richness of the architectural order of the collonades and arches above the second floor. 

(to be continued)

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