Dragalevski Monastery - Legends, history, contemporariness
We previously offered you three alternatives for places to visit with your family around Sofia. Today we’ll tell you about another spot in the capital that’s ideal for a suburban stroll: the Dragalevski Monastery. Beautifully nestled in the outskirts of Vitosha, it carries the name “Assumption” and attracts visitors and residents of Bulgaria’s largest city every year.
You can combine a visit to the monastery with a delicious supper at one of Vitosha’s restaurants, such as that in the Moreni Hotel. The hotel is 10 kilometers from the monastery and takes around 15 minutes to reach by car. The warm ambiance, delectable food, exquisite drinks, and, last but not least, the stunning panoramic view will make the end of your stroll truly unforgettable. Pets are welcome at the restaurant as well. You can safely stop by the restaurant with your four-legged friend if you went for a walk with him.
And so. Why should you visit the Dragalevski Monastery? First of all, the area is ideal for walking. The clean air of Vitosha, combined with the tranquility that flows from the place, turn the monastery into a spiritual center where you can find solitude with nature and God. In the summer, the river below the monastery and the cold water fountain provide welcome relief from the heat, while in the winter, the location provides warmth and comfort to the hearts and souls. The Dragalevski Monastery is a true spiritual retreat.
It is open all year. In both summer and winter, you are likely to come across a large number of people who want to light a candle for health while admiring the natural beauty of the area. Just make sure to check the holy abode’s operating hours before you go. Drivers can find a comfortable parking lot above the monastery. You may easily and quickly get to the temple by car. If you want to travel by public transportation, you need to take bus line 66.
Tranquility, well-preserved architecture, and amazing art await you here. And there is a glorious history hidden behind the monastery’s wall. The past of the Dragalevski Monastery will also impress you.
It is one of the 14 monasteries that comprise the Sofia Holy Mountain. Tsar Ivan Alexander founded it in 1345, but it was burned down by the Ottoman Turks after the invasion of Sofia a few years later, in 1382. Nearly 100 years after the fire, in 1476, Radoslav Mavr, a boyar from Sofia, restored and decorated the temple with his family.
The monastery became the heart of the Sofia School of Literature in the 14th and 16th centuries. A vast number of Christian books were created and distributed. One of the most famous copies was created by the monk Jov Kasinets and depicts the Boyana list of Bulgarian rulers. The list describes the kings and queens with contributions to the development of the state and the church, and the names are read aloud during church services.
The church was renovated by masters from Sofia in the 18th century, who also added fresh frescoes. Vasil Levski visited the monastery frequently over the course of a century later, specifically between the years of 1870 and 1872. In the church, the apostle sought safety and hosted meetings of the revolutionary committees from Sofia and the nearby villages. All of this took place under the guidance of Hieromonk Gennady Skitnik, the monastery’s then-abbey. Skitnik served in Rakovski’s First Legion and is a supporter of Bulgarian independence. It was there that he met Levski.
The monastery was enlarged in the early 20th century. Its two components currently function as a single unit, and it has been designated a cultural monument of national significance. The other nearby buildings are new and serve as the Bulgarian Patriarchate’s residence.
Unquestionably, the Dragalevski Monastery is one of those monasteries that deserves a visit. It’s like a little piece of heaven where everything is in harmony and peace. Some reasons to visit it include its fantastic location – just a short distance from Sofia, nestled in a beech forest in the mountains and its fascinating history. We believe that once you’ve been to this holy place, your soul will rejoice.