Rila mountains


Rila mountains

The oldest name of the mountain Dunaks / Donuka / today's Rila is of Thracian origin and means "watery mountain." Rila is the highest mountain in Bulgaria and on the Balkans and fourth in Europe in height after the Alps, Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees. The highest peak is Musala - 2925 m. Rila has a typical mountain character - sharp peaks and jagged rocky ridges, deep troughs valleys, cirques and cirque lakes, vast alpine grasslands and pine forests. The snow cover stays in the alpine regions until the end of June. On Musala peak the temperature is above 0 C only four months in the year. Rila was once covered by glaciers that have carved huge circuses and left about 190 beautiful cirque lakes. They are located at a height of 2100-2800 meters. The most famous are the Seven Rila Lakes, Musalenski lakes and others.

The beautiful black-and-blue lakes, inaccessible alpine peaks, motionless sun in the sky, the variety of vegetation, water resources and clean air make the Rila Mountains one of the most visited mountains in Bulgaria. Inaccessible and inhospitable in yesteryear, today Rila is greatly utilized for tourism. All exit points of the mountain has convenient roads. For the comfort of tourists and winter sports fans there are built dozens of huts, lodges, holiday homes, and in some places and objectives resorts; there are routed paths and marked accordingly; and were built cable cars and ski lifts. Based on its orographic structure and morphographic characteristic traits Rila is divided into 4 main sections - Eastern, Central, Northwest and Southwest.

What to visit:

Nunnery "Orlitsa"

It is located about 18 km from the Rila monastery and 3 km from the town of Rila. It is one of the oldest convents of the Rila Monastery. The building was renovated several times and now its kept type is from 1863. It is believed that it was built in the 15th century. There are interesting frescoes from 1478. "Orlitsa" represents closed from all sides by stone fences, complex trapezoidal shape. In the convent is the medieval church "St. Peter and Paul." It represents a nave building with tiny dimensions.


Nunnery "Pchelino"

It’s located near the Rila Monastery, on about 4 km.  It’s a small building near the church "Uspenie Bogorodichno". The Church of "Pchelino" looks much like the one of the convent "Orlitsa." It keeps icons from 1784. The murals are from 1834.


The Rila Monastery

Included in the list of 100 National Tourist Sites of 28th place this is the majestic monastery complex in the country. It’s architectural and artistic splendor assign it a worthy place in the List of World Heritage UNESCO, which was incorporated in 1983. The monastery is situated about 19 km from the town of Rila Mountain, about 40 km from Blagoevgrad, 44 km from Dupnitsa and about 120 km from Sofia. It was founded in the tenth century. For its founder is considered the prominent Bulgarian hermit and healer, patron of Bulgarian people St. Ivan Rilski. He along with his disciples and followers creates a monastic dormitory, which is the core of the Rila Monastery. This complex has endured a lot. It was restored several times since it was burned and abandoned. It is made of smooth stone walls. Outside it seems unapproachable, but inside is a friendly, animated and lively from multiple staircases, arcades, balconies.


The Fortress tower (on the eastern courtyard of Rila monastery)

This is a kind of an artistic focus in the architectural ensemble of the monastery. It is the only remaining building of the old buildings. It was built in 1335 by Sebastocrator Hrelyo to serve as a defensive tower. It’s constructed with bricks decoration. The inscription with the name of its creator and year of construction is also made with bricks. The tower has a height of 23 meters and a square. The walls are thick and 1.80 m and are made mostly of stone and lime. To each of the four sides are embedded in three powerful pilasters, which are associated with arches. Premises from first to fourth floors are designed for temporary habitation. They have floor boards and sparse lighting in battlements. On the fifth floor is the chapel "Transfiguration of Christ". It has an unusual iconography. In the eastern part is reserved the oldest image of Ivan Rilski. The next floors are accessible by stone stairs that are built into the walls. Later, the monks built a small building to the tower, which serves as a belfry.


The Rila Monastery cookhouse (north-side)

It represents large monastery kitchen.  It’s placed in the basement of North wing. It has a built massive pyramid tower that goes through all floors and finishes above the roof with cupola. It’s High 22 meters. The cookhouse is a rare architectural achievement.


The monastery church "St. Mary '(Rila Monastery)

It was built in 1834 by Master Paul Ivanovich from Krimin on the place of the old church from the time of Sebastocrator Hrelyo (1335 - 1342 year), which was demolished by the monks after the great fire in 1833. Then the monastery wings were destroyed partially. They were recovered in and complete the form which we see today. According Neophyte Rilski fortress church was "wonderful" and resembled the churches of Mount Athos monasteries. Out of this church survived richly ornate gates and the bishop's throne of Hrelyo.


Hermitage "St. Luke"

It is located about two kilometers east of the Rila Monastery. Here worked the revivalist Neofit Rilski as a teacher in school.


Stobskite pyramids

They are located near the village of Stob, which is on about 5 km east of the town of Rila and about 15 km north of Blagoevgrad (on the way to the town of Rila Monastery).They represent interesting rock formations that resemble pyramids, formed in orange red sedimentary and most of them are covered with boulders.

Resort Semkovo

 It situated in the southwestern Rila in the Kovachki share. Over Semkovo are towering some of the highest peaks of this part of Rila - vr.Cherna meadow / Karaalanitsa / (2716 m.) Vr.Skalets / Redzhepitsa / (2678 m.), Angelov peak (2643 m.) V.Pastri slap / Aladza slap / (2683 m.).

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