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  1. Bulgaria
  2. Plovdiv Province
  3. Plovdiv
  4. Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery: Day Trip to Bulgaria's Orthodox Jewel

Product ID: 34028
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Nestled in the imposing Rila Mountains sits Rila Monastery, Bulgaria’s most famous landmark. The Holy Rila Retreat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited tourist attraction in the country. Visit the monastery museum and the Tower of Hrelyu.
About this activity
Duration 10 hours
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation

Pickup included

Any hotel or address within the city of Plovdiv
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants and date:

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Experience

Highlights
  • Admire the beautiful murals of the main church, the Nativity of the Virgin
  • Enjoy spectacular views of the Rila Mountains in the background
  • See the wooden cross by the monk Rafail in the monastery’s museum
Full description
Rila Monastery, at an elevation of 1,147 meters, is situated along the Rilska River in the highest mountains of the Balkan Peninsula. Founded in the 10th century by the hermit St. Ivan Rilski, it is today Bulgaria’s most famous site.

Known also as the Holy Rila Retreat, it is considered to be the most outstanding monument of the Bulgarian National Revival period, and the ultimate expression of the Bulgarian genius in matters of spirit, culture, architecture, construction, icon painting, and woodcarving. The monastery, as it now stands, was built in the period 1816-1847.

The first stop at the monastery is the main church, the Nativity of the Virgin, elaborately decorated with murals both inside and outside. The church houses the holy relics of St. Ivan Rilski as well as the tomb of Boris III, the last Bulgarian king.

Next to the main temple is the only structure that remains from the 14th century: the Tower of Hrelyu. This strong fortification was erected by the local feudal lord Hrelyu in 1334.

The Transfiguration Chapel on the top floor features precious murals from the 14th century. In the monastery museum you’ll see the impressive wooden cross carved by the monk Rafail. This unique piece of art contains 36 scenes from the Bible and about 600 figures as small as a grain of rice.

Before visiting the monastery you have the option of enjoying lunch at a restaurant perched above the Rilska River to try the local speciality; grilled or fried trout.
Includes
  • English-speaking driver/guide
  • Round-trip transfers from your hotel in Plovdiv
  • Parking fees
What’s Not Included
  • Museum entrance fee (EUR 4.00) – optional visit
  • Tower of Hrelyu entrance fee (EUR 2.50) – optional visit
  • Food
  • Tips

Prepare for the activity

Important information
Know before you go
Dress code at the monastery: shoulders and knees must be covered. Men can be in shorts above the knees. Sandals and t-shirts are allowed.
Customer reviews
Overall rating
5.0 / 5
based on 2 reviews
Review summary
Service
5.0/5
Organization
5.0/5
Value for money
5.0/5
Safety
5.0/5

Organized by

PLOVDIV TRIPS

Product ID: 34028