“The Assumption of the Virgin Monastery”
Located only 30 km from Plovdiv in the beautiful valley of Cheperlarska lies the second largest monastery in Bulgaria- Bachkovo Monastery ‘Assumption of the Holy Virgin’. The monastery is over a 1000 years old and home of the sacred icon figure The Holy Virgin which dates back to the 14th century.
Being easily accessible from many vantage points, Bachkovo Monastery is the second most visited monastery in Bulgaria. The estate is just under 8000 square meters and sits at 440 meters above sea level. The grounds consist of two yards and four churches with 18 chapels still used today for rites of passages, congregations, weddings and baptisms.
Bachkovo Monastery has long been known for its surrounding fauna which includes a number of unique animals only found in this particular part of the world including the rare plant Haberlea Rhodopensis. The Chepelarska River flows from nearby Kluviata, bringing with it an array of life to the region encompassing the monastery. Today the monastery still benefits from this waterway as it’s used to help feed and maintain the monasteries sustainable trout farm. In turn, this helps supply the guest of monastery with endless supply of fresh fish as well as the local eateries.
The Main Monastery
The main monastery church was constructed in 1604 over the archaeological remains of the historic Bakuriani
church. With so many beautiful features engulfing the monastery, some favorites include the white stone blocks organized in catenaries above the windows and its luxurious decorative domes. In the beginning of the XVII century the constructed gold-plated iconostasis with its richly colored woodcarvings is now one of the oldest in Bulgaria.
- The Main Monastery Church
- Archangel Church
- Temple of St. Nicolas
- Monastery Ossuary
- The Old Refectory
- The Panoramic Fresco
The Main Fresco
Located inside the monastery is the main fresco (fresco is a technique of mural painting, which becomes an integral part of the wall) painted by Mosko Velev. The main fresco dates back to 1850 is characteristic of the Bulgarian Enlightenment. It overlays an original painting that is older than the church itself. The original work of art had been completed in 1643 with the funding coming from a wealthy artisan named Georgi and his son Constantine. The father and son’s portraits in wealthy eastern garbs grace the wall on the right side of the inner central door.
The Miracles of the Holy Virgin
The core of the monastery’s and pilgrims’ belief is found with the Miracle Working Icon of the Holy Virgin. It has been in possession of the monastery since its formation. The Holy Virgin brings visitors from all over Europe and the world to come and pray, to share their worries and seek protection and well-being in life.
During the early era of the Ottoman rule, the icon was tucked away in the territory of Kluviata far away from the conquering Ottoman Turks. It was later found in the early XVII century and returned back to the monastery. In the long history of this icon. It has disappeared on two separate occasions, on its own merit, only to be found in the exact same spot both times by mystified monks. It was ultimately brought back permanently to a fixed location and situated in a special spot within the monastery walls where it sits today. Such remarkable tales might be part of the mythology surrounding the holy object, but it unquestionably contribute to its lure.