Global Treasures Rilski Manastir Bulgaria
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Rilski Manastir is the most splendid symbol of Orthodox Christianity in
Bulgaria. It is located amid a wooded mountain wilderness in the west of
Bulgaria and is the country’s oldest and largest monastery.
The complex’s asymmetrical inner courtyard is in stark contrast to its almost
frightening appearance when viewed from outside. The facades and arches of
the tall, several-floor monastery, are painted with both light and dark
stripes. The long buildings with wooden galleries and colourful arcades
accommodate the cells as well as the kitchen, bakery, cheese dairy and
The three-levelled basilica is a splendid building surrounded by open arcades
that protect a wall that contains valuable carvings and icons.
More than twelve hundred motifs guide the faithful and warn them not to lead
a godless life. These include biblical scenes and images of angels, demons
and martyrs and an apocalyptic vision of hell that is all in amazing contrast to
the elegance of the splendid arcades and columns.
The large monastery complex whose red roofs and domes tower above the
mountain forest was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.