Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rilski Manastir

A beautiful day at Rila Monastery!
Last weekend the Fulbright Commission sponsored a group trip to Rila Monastery- one of the oldest and most significant monasteries in Bulgaria. It was the center of monastic life in Bulgaria under the Ottoman Empire and is famous for having preserved many important liturgical texts and traditions during that time. The museum inside has intricate wood-carved crosses, tapestries, icons and other items related to Bulgarian religious arts. The church itself is covered in colorful frescoes from the 19th century- earlier ones were destroyed by fires over the years and these newer paintings are very well-preserved.
19th Century frescoes
Bulgarian Revival-period architecture

After visiting the monastery we had a delicious lunch on the river and tried the mekitsi (sweet fried dough) they sell outside. Donuts of any kind are always good, but these were awesome! I hope I don't find any in Pleven because they're dangerously addictive. ;) I'm really glad I finally made it to Rila and I hope to go back sometime when the weather's warm because there are a lot of good hiking trails around the mountains there. One of the most popular hikes is to the Seven Rila Lakes, which have fun names like "the eye," "the kidney" and "the fish." Springtime is almost here and I can't wait for this winter to finally end.

Enjoying the scenic Rila Mountains :)

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