The Kilifarevo Monastery has gone down in the annals of Bulgarian history as the "Second University of Medieval Bulgaria", following that of Clement of Ochrid's large School in Ochrid. It was founded between 1348 and 1350 upon the order of Tzar Ivan Alexander. The premises were built 12 km south of the state’s capital at the time, for the purpose of providing shelter for the Hesychast and hermit Theodossius of Turnovo, a man of letters and an enlightener roaming the Bulgarian lands at the time. The monastery soon attracted writers, philologists, translators and calligraphers alongside with clergymen, theologians and philosophers. Liturgical books and Byzantine chronicles were translated, volumes were compiled of the lives of Bulgarian, Serbian and Greek saints, and sermons were written against the numerous heresies.
The most remarkable work of art here is again to be found in the chapel. The old carved iconostasis, probably the work of Tryavna masters, is fashioned with great imagination and sculptural talent, manifesting at the same time a perfect measure for decorativeness. Repeatedly restored and reconstructed, Kilifarevo Monastery has a complete, harmonious appearance which ranks it among the finest architectural ensembles of the Bulgarian National Revival period.
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