Portugal & Bulgaria 2010 travel blog

Rila Monatery's church of the Nativity

back of the church

church domes

Monastery complex


view of church from upper floor of monastery

arches outside our rooms

my 'cell' at the monastery

private guest room

another guestroom

another guest room

painted monastery wall

painted wall and window

ceiling of church porch

inside the church dome

close up of dome painting

one of biblical scenes on outside walls

What a difference a day makes. From King-sized bed in a four-star hotel to a cot in a monks cell. You can certainly say we have a variety of accommodations on a Rick Steve's Tour. Rila Monastery is the most famous monastery in Bulgaria and is a fantastic place in a beautiful location. The air is so clean here and the water comes straight from the mountain and is very cold and tasty. Most people just visit for the day, and it can be quite crowded at times, but we stayed 1 night in the monastery itself, which was quite peaceful after the tourists leave. The accommodations are very basic and a bit spartan, but it's a unique opportunity most tourists don't get. Many of the tour members were grumbling a bit the day we arrived, but I think most thought it was worth it, as we got the place to ourselves during the night and early the next morning.

The monastery complex consists of a ring of buildings encircling a small church. The walls are thick and 4 stories high, and the church is decorated on the inside and out with brightly painted scenes from the bible. The craftsmanship is quite impressive. The abbot of the monastery gave us special permission to tour several guest rooms and a private chapel, not normally open to the public, which the tour members loved. The private guest rooms have elaborately carved wood ceilings and filled with hand woven carpets and tapestries.

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