Arbanassi - Austere houses that resemble minor fortresses on the outside with high, solid walls and heavy gates, iron, rids and secret hiding-places, but which are spacious and comfortable, richly decorated and furnished on the inside.
The oldest of Arbanassiís five churches is The Birth of Christ (1637 - 1649) dug into the ground without a belfry and with hidden cupola, but hiding a genuine art gallery with over 3 500 stunningly realistic figures and Biblical scenes, painted by unknown artists throughout the ages. There are two monasteries in the village of Arbanassi - St. Nikola monastery and Holy Virgin monastery.
In the last few years, Bulgarian monasteries, which are closely connected to the historical fate of the Bulgarian state and nation, have witnessed increasing tourist interest. From the very start, monasteries have gained great importance as centres of the Bulgarian literature and culture and have preserved the nation's values during difficult times. Some of the monasteries, which date back to Byzantine times, have played a key role in keeping up the Bulgarians' spirit and self-consciousness during 5 centuries of Ottoman domination. Others were built in the late XX century in the place of destroyed cloisters in order to restore past glory and respond to the religious needs of local people. Due to Ottoman invasions or merely to the course of time, only few of the still-functioning monasteries keep their original architecture and interior of the buildings. Nevertheless, the visit of each one of them leaves a lasting memory and a deep impression. Some impose on the visitor with their unique design, others - with their valuable icons and masterly wall paintings, third - with their location in most beautiful and wild parts of the country.
The purpose of this website is not to make a thorough review of all preserved monasteries in Bulgaria but to present only those of tourist value - either for their beautiful architecture and rich history, or the opportunity for a nice holiday in the monastery's complex, or merely the interesting stop these could represent for a traveller. Our team has visited all the included monasteries and has discussed the history of the cloister with a monk or nun in most of them. That makes us proud of giving you first-hand information and sharing with you our unique photos of these monasteries. We hope that you will enjoy browsing our site!
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