Exhibition Sofiyska Sveta Gora - The Un/Known Route
Place:Credo Bonum Gallery, 2 Slavyanska str, Sofia
Organizer: Credo Bonum Foundation
Credo Bonum Gallery
Sofiyska Sveta Gora
The Un/Known Route

27 September - 27 October 2011
Opening: 27 September 2011, Tuesday, 6:30 PM

This exhibition is part of a project of the Credo Bonum Foundation that aims at resurrecting the pilgrimage route that connects the spiritual sites in the Sofia region. The majority of these places dates back from the 13th century, when the foundations were laid of the imposing complex known as the Sofiyska Sveta Gora. The analogy with Mount Atos is not a coincidence. The Sofiyska Sveta Gora originated as a community of 14 monasteries situated along the outer ring of Vitosha Mountain and the adjacent mountains. During the Middle Ages they functioned as active cultural and educational centres linked to important dates and events from the Bulgarian history. Until the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule, there were more than 100 monasteries in the Sofia region, of which around 40 have been preserved to this day.

Today some of them are either falling to pieces or deserted. The project, started by the Credo Bonum Foundation in partnership with Sofia Municipality, seeks to encourage, by creating the proper conditions for cultural tourism, the adoption of a more responsible attitude towards nature and the historical heritage. The foundation’s main goals are the improvement and development of the alternative connections between the churches and monasteries in the Sofiyska Sveta Gora—trekking and bicycle routes—known primarily to a handful of devoted pilgrims and aficionados of active recreation. Part of the steps to the popularisation of this route are the putting up of signposts, path marking, the publication of information materials and the creation of a Web site: www.svetagorasofia.bg/
The project’s pilot stage, which the exhibition presents, deals with the northern part of the Sofiyska Sveta Gora and includes nine churches and 14 monasteries in the region between Buhovo and Katina. To make it possible, the Credo Bonum team conducted a series of meetings with the majority of the organisations that work on the development of accessibility to the sites and are engaged with the building the infrastructure for trekking and mountain tourism. Jointly with the municipal company Softproekt and the Baykariya Association, the most suitable routes have been selected and described. On commission by the foundation, a Baykariya team has indicated the paths that need repairs in the regions of Seslavtsi, Kremikovtsi and Lokorsko.

The exhibition showcases a map (created by Plamena Todorova, the winner in the competition for a logo of the route) with descriptions of the routes between all the sites and inhabited places in the northern part of the Sofiyska Sveta Gora, an annual calendar of the church holidays, a documentation of the path marking by Denitsa Varadinova and Hristo Nikolov-Icho.

The focus is on the inspiration to the project—the unique in their significance architecture and church wall-paintings in the Sveti Arhangel Mihail (St Archangel Michael) and Sveta Maria Magdalina (St Mary Magdalene) monasteries at Buhovo, Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets (Great Martyr St George the Victorious) Monastery at Kremikovtsi (Kremikovtsi Monastery) and Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiyski (St Nicholas of Myra) Monastery at Seslavtsi. These were documented in a several photography sets by Yanne Golev, Hristo Nikolov-Icho and Veneta Raynovska.