Rila Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage Site (Bulgaria)
Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by Sveti Ivan Rilski of Rila (St. John of Rila), a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation. In its ten-century history the Rila monastery has been the hub of a strong spiritual and artistic influence over the Eastern Orthodox world during medieval times (11th-14th c.). Under Ottoman rule (1400-1878) the monastery influenced the cultural development and the arts of all Christian nations within the Ottoman Empire. With its architecture and frescos it represents a masterpiece of the creative genius of Bulgarian people.
The single-day trip to Rila Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site) includes a tour of the site. Admission to the Rila Monastery Museum and the
Tower of Hrelio (1334-1335) is optional and costs app. 6 EUR.