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Plovdiv – Bachkovski Monastery

At 20 km south of Plovdiv and 2.5 km from the town of Asenovgrad,the right of the road to Smolyan Bachkovo monastery on a cliff isAssen’s fortress.

The fortress was built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinianthe Great (527-565) in the VI century to protect the old Roman road connecting Thrace with the Aegean. Located on four terraces and occupies an area of 15 acres. Stone wall in places reaches a height of10-15 m, where excavations have unearthed the foundations of somebuildings of the citadel - a feudal castle, tower, two reservoirs, militaryfacilities, military chapel, built on an ancient Thracian sanctuary.

The castle was restored by Ivan Assen II after the Battle of Klokotnitsa in 1230, as evidenced by a stone inscription. It is best preserved fortress church “Sv. Bogoroditsa” - a typical monument of Bulgarian mediaeval architecture. The temple is a relatively large two-storey building with a length of 18 m - nave church withapse dome partially preserved frescoes by masters of the Turnovo School - XIII-XIV century.

9 km from Asenovgrad and 29 km from Plovdiv is the second largest after the Rila Monastery - Bachkovo monastery, founded in 1083 g.ot brothers Gregory and Abasii Bakuriani – senior captains Byzantine, Georgian by origin.

Like most other Bulgarian monasteries, and he was robbed and destroyed several times. Restoration of the monastery began in the late XVI century. Church “St. Mary “was built in 1604

Church and still keep one of the oldest gilt wood-carved iconostasis in the country.

Miraculous icon of Virgin Mary is among the greatest treasures of the monastery. Case is unknown artists today can not be dated precisely because it is almost all covered with silver hardware with an inscription of 1311 According to Byzantine tradition of the XIV century it was an authentic image of the Virgin Mary. The icon is given a special place and it can be seen right next to the entrance of the church.

In a small garden is located south of the church “St. Nikolai” was built in 1836 and decorated in 1840 by Zachary Zograf. Only surviving building from the XI century church ossuary, located about 350 m from the present monastery complex. The dimensions of the temple are 21.20 m of 7.30 m. The two-storey basilica was built as a crypt. Downstairs there are 14 graves. Especially valuable are the icons of the great Georgian painter John Iveropulets (end of XI, the beginning of XII century). In 2001, the ossuary was restored. This is the only fully preserved temple of the XI-XII century in the Orthodox world, which makes it especially valuable.

The dining room is the second most important religious building after the Cathedral, as it is engaged in a specific ritual – reading Lives of Saints, prayers and psalms. The dining room was decorated by a large display theme is “Doomsday”.

Are extremely rich library and museum Bachkovo. Interesting is the garden of the monastery. They grow rare species such as ginger, persimmon, magnolia, Chinese pine and laurel. The monastery offers accommodation and has a base of 200 beds.

Continuing along the road to Smolyan, after 8 km separates the road to Lucky and Cross Forest.

Cross Forest

Cross Forest - holy place, has giveen spiritual and physical healing ofmany believers.

Cross peak itself is 1545 meters high for the entire forest area Crosssaid that is particularly energy radiation that intersect here as cosmic rays of Rupite Belintash and that is a mirror image of the Cross Peakonly 7 km in a straight line in an easterly direction . The ancientThracians had a sanctuary here.

In 1936 in gratitude Tsar Boris III ordered the Cross peak can be placed a large cross, heavy 33 kg, as werethe years of the Savior. In 1994 the cross was stolen and then found and restored.

In the autumn of 1995 was the newly consecrated church of Cross Forest ”Shroud of Mary”.

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