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Arbanassi Monasteries

Arbanassi Monastery St. Nikolai
Arbanassi Monastery St. Nikolai

In the village of Arbanassi, located 3 km from Veliko Turnovo – an old capital of the country, two monasteries are of interest: the St. Nikola and Holy Virgin monasteries.

From the XVI century to its tragic devastation two centuries later, the village, one of the wealthiest in pre-liberation Bulgaria, boasted with the work of skilled masters from different parts of the country.

The St. Nikola Monastery was part of the widespread religious construction under the Assen dynasty, the founders of the Second Bulgarian State. Its artistic and historical value lies primarily in the surviving murals in the St. Elija Chapel, dating from 1716 and comprising of a monumental figure of Christ the Great Archangel, 12 scenes from the Holy Akathistos, and 6 scenes from the life of Christ.

The effective coloring and rich palette, the confidences in the portrayal of the human figures, the unusually varied architectural decoration reveal the hand of a master. The filigree wooden iconostasis in the chapel, with its delicate and exquisite decorations, is valuable a treasure.

Situated in the same village, the Holy Virgin Monastery suffered a different, though no less tragic a fate. Historians cannot tell how it survived the attacks in 1393. In this monastery too, valuable icons abound.

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