Rila Monastery (Rilski Manastir), located in the Rila Mountain, at approximately 120 km south from Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, is the biggest monastery in Bulgaria.
The monastery was named after the hermit Ivan of Rila (Ivan Rilski), who founded it in the 10th century and whose relics are exhibited in the main church, here at Rila Monastery.
Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, has four chapels, about 300 monastic cells, a library, a kitchen and provides sleeping rooms for those who want to spend the night here. However, they are not as comfortable as a hotel room, so, if you must have hot water and room service, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of hotels in the area from which you may choose.
While in the area, you can also visit the Ivan of Rila’s cave, the place where he lived isolated from the rest of the world and almost never received visitors.
Icon paintings, frescoes and manuscripts from the 14th-19th centuries are exhibited here.