buhovo-monastery-sveti-arhangel-mihail-st-archangel-michael
BUHOVO MONASTERY SVETI ARHANGEL MIHAIL (ST ARCHANGEL MICHAEL)
Environment
Location
The monastery stands some 3 km to the north-east of the town of Buhovo, sheltered in the southern slopes of Stara Planina.
Status
The monastery has been a cultural monument since 1985.
History
The monastery was founded in the 16th century. Konstantin Jireček mentioned it as a part of Sofiyskata Sveta Gora, referring to it as St Archangel Buhovski Monastery. The monastery was rich, possessing numerous properties. At the end of the 18th century it was looted and burned down by kircali hordes and was eventually deserted. It was revived on two occasions, in 1855 and in 1882. Vasil Levski used it as a hideout, and it was visited also by Vasil Drumev, a spiritual leader of the Bulgarian people. A curious episode in the monastery’s history was the short stay, in 1886, of Prince Alexander Battenberg after his deposition from the Bulgarian throne. He was taken to the monastery and spent two nights in it. A century later, Buhovo residents restored the cell in which the prince had stayed. The current monastery premises date back to the second half of the 19th century.
Current State
The monastery complex consists of a single-nave, single-apse church with a narthex, as well as residential and farm buildings. At present no monks or nuns reside in the monastery. Normally the church is locked and is opened only on major Christian holidays. The complex is well kept, but most of the buildings are very old and in need of an overhaul.
Свързани маршрути
1
Length
Duration
Purpose
State
2 Buhovo - Sveti Arhangel Mihail Monastery (option 2)
Length
2.4 km
Duration
40 min
Purpose
Hiking route, suitable for mountain bikes also
State
It passes through a steep section of a dirt road with ruts
Коментари
buhovo-monastery-sveta-maria-magdalena-st-mary-magdalene
BUHOVO MONASTERY SVETA MARIA MAGDALENA (ST MARY MAGDALENE)
Environment
There is a well in the yard, a water fountain and a shelter with tables and benches, which make for a good picnic venue. The view to Sofia is magnificent.
Location
The monastery stands on a green hill in the slopes of Murgash Mountain (part of Stara Planina), 3 km from the town of Buhovo and 18 km east of Sofia.
Status
The monastery is a cultural monument.
History
According to a legend, the village of Buhovo was founded in the 4th century, the time when Christianity became the official religion in these lands. Emperor Constantine’s summer residence stood in the place of today’s monastery, and there was a monastery nearby. By 1430 the monastery had a big church and was part of Sofiyskata Sveta Gora. The Turkish conquerors repeatedly demolished it, and during the last attack more than 300 Christian martyrs were burned alive inside the magnificent church (25 m x 40 m). In 1881 local people who had heard of the massacre built a church on the remains of the old basilica. Fairs and offerings used to take place here regularly. The monastery was revived in the 1920s.
Current State
At present the monastery is not functioning and no monks or nuns live in it. The church is small, with one nave. An old wooden bell tower stands beside it, along with residential and farm buildings that need restoring. Liturgies are rarely held in the church. It is opened only on major Christian holidays, as well as on the church holiday, July 22, the Day of St. Mary Magdalene.
Свързани маршрути
1 Buhovo - Sveta Maria Magdalena Monastery
Length
3.5 km
Duration
1 hour
Purpose
Hiking route, appropriate for mountain bikes
State
Steep dirt road
2 Buhovo - Sveta Maria Magdalena Monastery (option 2)
Length
1.7 km
Duration
10 min
Purpose
Cycle route
State
Asphalt and dirt road
3 Sveta Maria Magdalena Monastery - Seslavtsi
Length
5.6 km
Duration
1.15 hours
Purpose
Hiking route, appropriate for mountain bikes
State
Passes through asphalt and dirt road
4 Sveta Maria Magdalena Monastery - Seslavtsi (option 2)
Length
5.8 km
Duration
40 min
Purpose
Cycle route
State
Asphalt road
5 Sveta Maria Magdalena Monastery - Seslavtsi (option 3)
Length
5 km.
Duration
1 hour
Purpose
Hiking route. It can be pass through with mountain bikes, but with great difficulty
State
Dirt road and trail
Коментари
seslavtsi-monastery-sveti-nikolay-mirlikiyski-st-nicholas-of-myra
SESLAVTSI MONASTERY SVETI NIKOLAY MIRLIKIYSKI (ST NICHOLAS OF MYRA)
Environment
Location
The monastery is located 2 km north of the village of Seslavtsi, in the southern slopes of the western part of Stara Planina. It stands some 20 kilometres from Sofia. A picturesque tourist path leads from the Kremikovtsi Monastery to the Seslavtsi Monastery.
Status
The monastery was declared cultural monument in 1983.
History
The monastery was founded during the Second Bulgarian Empire. According to legends, a boyar Seslav initiated its establishment. He had a fortress near the monastery, which was later demolished by the Turks, following which the monastery fell into decay. The people of Seslavtsi revived the monastery in the late 16th-early 17th century and devoted it to St Nicholas the Miracleworker. The monastery church of St Nicholas was presumably built and decorated in 1616 with funds and volunteer work of residents of the nearby villages. An inscription in the church naos lists the donors’names. In this period the church was the biggest among the monastery churches in the region, measuring 16 m x 6.8 m. It is a single-nave, single-apse building, with a narthex and a spacious interior, and is fully decorated. Its murals are of immense value and have been preserved until today. Three painting layers have been revealed, with that from 1618, painted by the famous Bulgarian scholar and limner Pimen Zografski, being the best preserved. The murals represent biblical, gospel and mythical scenes with instructive subjects. The images of the Virgin and two archangels are painted in the altar apse. The southern and northern walls display the Christological cycle – “The Birth of Jesus Christ”, “The Resurrection of Jesus” and “The Harrowing of Hell”. The images of the Sofia martyrs St. George New of Sofia and St. Nikolay New of Sofia, painted by a 19th-century artist from Samokov, Kosta Valyov, can be seen below. The western wall displays a composition representing Christ’s family tree – the Root of Jesse. The murals are accompanied by detailed texts in Bulgarian. The monastery was a spiritual and cultural centre that sustained the spirit of the local people.
At the start of the 19th century the monastery was ravaged by kircali hordes and was deserted. In 1832 it was revived by Father Superior Hariton. In the 1950s and ‘60s, when the exploitation of the Buhovo mines started, there was a uranium mine on the territory of the monastery complex. Access to the monastery was banned and it gradually fell into disrepair and oblivion.
Current State
At present the Seslavtsi Monastery is deserted but access to it is free. The only surviving building is the church. The remains of the medieval fortress of Kaleto can be seen nearby.
Свързани маршрути
1 Seslavtsi - Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiyski Monastery
Length
1.4 km
Duration
25 min
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route
State
Asphalt and nice dirt road
2 Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiyski Monastery, Seslavci - Strelets Hut (through the ridge)
Length
4.4 km.
Duration
1 hour
Purpose
Hiking route on forest road and trail, suitable for mountain cycling.
State
The road is in good condition, but the trail to the ridge is very steep and bikes must be pushed up.
3 Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiyski Monastery, Seslavci - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery, Kremikovci (through the forest)
Length
4.2 km.
Duration
40 min.
Purpose
Hiking route on forest road and trail, suitable for mountain bikes.
State
The trail is outlined clearly and in good condition till the saddleback above Kremikovtsi Monastery.
Коментари
kremikovtsi-monastery-sveti-georgi-pobedonosets-great-martyr-st-george-the-victorious
KREMIKOVTSI MONASTERY SVETI GEORGI POBEDONOSETS (GREAT MARTYR ST GEORGE THE VICTORIOUS)
Environment
Location
The monastery is located on the southern slopes of the western part of Stara Planina, some 3 km from Sofia’s neighbourhood of Kremikovtsi, in a locality known as Gradishteto. It was built on a rocky ledge which offers a magnificent view to the vast Sofia plain and the capital.
Status
The monastery has been recognised as a cultural monument of national importance. The murals in the old church were declared cultural heritage monuments in 1969; the iconostasis in the church of the Dormition of the Mother of God has been a cultural monument since 1980.
History
The monastery was founded during the reign of King Ivan Alexander (1331–71) on the remains of a former medieval settlement. The earliest accounts of a busy life there date back to the late 15th century. In 1382, when the Ottoman invaders conquered Sofia, the monastery was demolished together with the nearby fortress at Gradishteto. The monastery was rebuilt in 1497, when a noble, Radivoy, with the help of Kalevit, the then bishop of Sofia, recovered the ruined Church of St George. It stands in the centre of the monastery complex and belongs to a type of church buildings widely popular in the Bulgarian lands in the 13th and 14th centuries – small, single-nave, single-apse, with a semi-cylindrical vault. The decorations were made right after the construction and are in tune with the traditions of Bulgarian medieval church painting. Differences in the used style and techniques suggest that the frescoes in the narthex and those inside the church are the work of different limners and were made at different times. The church was probably damaged by an earthquake and was restored in 1503. A donor’s inscription from 1611 tells of another renovation and redecoration. Between 1670 and 1750 the monastery was demolished and later deserted. An inscription tells that it was rebuilt in 1799 and turned into the richest monastery in the Sofia region.
During the Middle Ages and the Bulgarian National Revival the monastery was an educational and spiritual centre where many liturgical books were copied out. The famous Kremikovtsi Gospel was created there in 1497, commissioned by Bishop Kalevit. A 1579 gospel by the priest Yoan Kratovski is kept in the monastery’s library, along with a 16th century triptych with a bead-roll. They are currently at the National Museum of History and Archaeology of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. A precious wooden iconostasis from the 17th-18th century is in the church. The monastery preserved a relic of St George New of Sofia, who was martyred for his Christian faith in 1515. The relic – an incorruptible bone, plated in gold and silver – was kept inside an ossuary with an inscription “Kremikovtsi, in the year 1593”. The Kremikovtsi Monastery was used as a hiding place by fighters for the Bulgarian national independence. After the defeat of Hristo Botev’s rebel company, its second standard bearer, Dimitar “The Kazakh” Stefanov, found shelter here. His place of death is beside the monastery, and a modest white-stone monument—it was raised in 1912 and declared a cultural monument in 1979—marks his grave. Following the Liberation of Bulgaria, nuns who had fled Maleshevo, in Macedonia, settled in the monastery. A big new church, The Shroud of the Mother of God, a magnificent building with beautiful woodcarvings and a miraculous icon of the Virgin, was completed and consecrated in 1907. Until the early 1950s the Kremikovtsi Monastery functioned as a convent, and the nuns who lived in it also took to farming. Then, military units were stationed in the premises for a period of 18 years. In the 1960s the troops left the monastery, to be replaced by construction workers. Some of the nuns returned in the 1970s and found the monastery in ruins. One of them, Yustina, maintained the monastery for 60 years. After her death in 1993, she was succeeded by Mother Superior Hionia.
Current State
The monastery is functioning and liturgies are held there regularly. The monastic complex includes mainly two residential buildings and two churches. The restoration of the murals in the medieval church started in 1980 and continued, with short interruptions, until 2003. The yard is very well kept and has a beautiful flower garden. The monastery is often visited by believers and tourists attracted by the beautiful landscape around it. On the monastery’s holidays, St George’s Day and the Shroud of the Mother of God Day, as well as on other major Christian holidays, the monastery’s yard is crowded with people and offerings are made.
Свързани маршрути
1 Seslavtsi - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery (option 1)
Length
2.3 km
Duration
40 min.
Purpose
Hiking route, suitable for mountain bikes, passes through a dirt road and a trail.
State
2 Seslavtsi - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery (option 2)
Length
3 km.
Duration
30 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on dirt road and asphalt.
State
Dirt road and asphalt.
3 Kremikovtsi - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery
Length
2.3 km.
Duration
30 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on asphalt road with option of short paths on dirt road.
State
4 Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery, Kremikovci - Sveta Troica consecrated ground, Lokorsko
Length
14.4 km.
Duration
2.30 hours
Purpose
Hiking route on good, forest road, suitable for mountain bikes. Beautiful sceneries and pleasant descending from the mountain’s ridge.
State
5 Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiyski Monastery, Seslavci - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery, Kremikovci (through the forest)
Length
4.2 km.
Duration
40 min.
Purpose
Hiking route on forest road and trail, suitable for mountain bikes.
State
The trail is outlined clearly and in good condition till the saddleback above Kremikovtsi Monastery.
Коментари
monastery-of-st-martyr-dimitar-of-thessaloniki-at-podgumer
Monastery of St Martyr Dimitar of Thessaloniki at Podgumer
Environment
Location
The monastery is located in a small valley on the southern slopes of Stara Planina, near the village of Podgumer, 7 km east of the town of Novi Iskar and some 10 km north of Sofia.
Status
The monastery has been a national artistic monument of culture since 1971.
History
The Podgumer Monastery is part of Sofiyskata Sveta Gora. It is presumed to have been founded in the 13th century. During the Turkish invasion, at the end of the 14th century, the monastery was demolished. An inscription above the monastery church’s gate shows the year 1597 – probably the year of its reconstruction. The church is a small, single-nave, single-apse building, with a big narthex and no dome. The murals were painted by a monk, Pimen of Sofia, who has decorated many churches and monasteries across Bulgaria. Ravaged and looted repeatedly, the monastery was reconstructed in 1848 with funds provided by residents of the villages around Podgumer, such as Kurilo, Gnilyane, Kumaritsa, Zhelyava. That was the last time its church was decorated. The rest of the monastic buildings and the margin notes in church books date back to the mid-19th century. Vasil Levski stayed here during his circuits of the Sofia region. In the second half of the 20th century the monastery was turned into a hospital.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the monastery was one of the literary centres in the Sofia region. It had a rich library and some of the books and documents had been written by the monks that had lived there. The monastery kept a copy of the first edition of Sofroniy Vrachanski’s Nedelnik (Sunday Lecture), published in Rome in 1806. In 1897 the monastic library still had a book, Menaion, about all the holidays throughout the 12 months of the year.
Current State
At present the monastery is not functioning.
Свързани маршрути
1 Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi - Sveti Dimitar Solunski Monastery
Length
3.4 km.
Duration
1 hour
Purpose
Trail, which leads straight to the monastery.
State
Suitable for hiking and mountain bike cycling.
2 Vsi Svetii Church, Podgumer - Sveti Dimitar Solunski Monastery
Length
1.5 km.
Duration
10 min.
Purpose
Asphalt road, suitable for cycling. The access to the monastery is restricted at the entrance of the psychiatry.
State
Asphalt road
3 Sveti Dimitar Solunski Monastery, Podgumer - Sveti Yoan Rilski Monastery, Kurilo
Length
6.4 km.
Duration
1.15 hours
Purpose
Hiking route, suitable for mountain bikes.
State
The dirt road is rutty and steep above Izgrev neighborhood. Open and without shadows.
Коментари
monastery-of-st-ivan-rilski-at-kurilo
Monastery of St Ivan Rilski at Kurilo
Environment
The remains of the medieval fortress of Beligrand lie near the monastery.
Location
The monastery is located at the foot of the western parts of Stara Planina, on the bank of the Iskar River, 1 km northeast of the town of Novi Iskar’s Kurilo neighbourhood. It stands 12 km from Sofia.
Status
The monastic church of St Ivan Rilski the Miracleworker has been declared artistic monument of culture.
History
According to legends, the Kurilo Monastery is among the oldest in Sofiyskata Sveta Gora. It was established during the First Bulgarian Empire near the old fortress of Beligrad. During the Ottoman invasion both the monastery and the fortress were demolished. Legend has it that the relics of St Ivan Rilski stayed at the monastery during their transfer from Tarnovo to the Rila Monastery in 1469. For two centuries the residents of the surrounding villages venerated the sacred place and the healing holy spring nearby and honoured the memory of the Rila saint. An inscription in the church’s narthex tells that in 1593 a new church, devoted to St Ivan Rilski, was built on the foundations of the old one with funds provided by Christians from the nearby villages. The new church was decorated in 1596, probably by the famous limner Pimen Zografski. It is single-nave, single-apse, with two narthexes and a semi-cylindrical vault. The mural of the Dormition of the Mother of God, as well as the full-length portraits of St Pantaleon, St Constantine and St Helen, have survived. In 1816, during the time of Father Superior Vikentiy, the church was redecorated. In 1830 an interior narthex was added to it, displaying the portrait of its patron, St Ivan Rilski. The Bulgarian saint was included in the Deesis composition, along with Jesus Christ, the Virgin and St John the Baptist. The scenes of “The Expulsion from Eden” and “The Ascension of Elijah the Prophet” attract visitors’ interest in the exterior narthex, built in 1849. The monastery preserved some valuable relics such as the Kurilo Gospel, printed in Wallachia in the 16th century, and a big stone candlestick with inscriptions from 1597 (both are now kept at the National Museum of Church History and Archaeology at the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church). The candlestick was made by the craftsman Vacho Radivoev from the village of Kremikovtsi.
The Kurilo Monastery was a spiritual and educational centre that included a small school. At the beginning of the 20th century the monastery functioned as a convent which was the home of 45 nuns. The nuns carried out educational and cultural activities, sold books, songbooks and icons. A printing house at the monastery published Christian literature and a magazine titled “Christianka” (The Christian Woman). The monastery was functioning until around the 1950s, when several of its buildings were taken over by the nearby psychiatric hospital. The last nun, Livia, died in 1983 and was buried in the monastery’s yard. The monastery was reopened in the 1990s.
Current State
The Kurilo Monastery is currently functioning and as of 2011 hieromonk Nektari permanently lives and serves there. The church holiday is celebrated on October 19, the Feast Day of St Ivan Rilski the Miracleworker.
Свързани маршрути
1 Sveti Dimitar Solunski Monastery, Podgumer - Sveti Yoan Rilski Monastery, Kurilo
Length
6.4 km.
Duration
1.15 hours
Purpose
Hiking route, suitable for mountain bikes.
State
The dirt road is rutty and steep above Izgrev neighborhood. Open and without shadows.
2 Vaznesenie Gospodne, Gnilyane - Sveti Yoan Rilski Monastery, Kurilo
Length
3 km.
Duration
15 min.
Purpose
Cycling route on asphalt road. You drive on the main street and road.
State
3 Sveti Yoan Rilski Monastery, Kurilo - Vaznesenie Gospodne Church, Katina
Length
5.9 km.
Duration
1.30 hours
Purpose
Cycle route on forest road, appropriate for mountain cycling. Option for cycle tourism is the main road from Novi Iskar to Katina.
State
Коментари
church-of-st-nicholas-the-miracleworker-at-buhovo
Church of St Nicholas the Miracleworker at Buhovo
Environment
The church was built in 1928 in the cemetery of the then village. That was made in keeping with a popular belief that laid down that the living and the dead should celebrate together. The church ceased to function in 1944, after the murder of its last priest. A priest served there over a brief period after 1992. Regular services were resumed in 2003. It was then that a local parishioner, Emil Mihov, took to the church a miracle-working icon of the Virgin, brought from Mount Athos. It was made by three monks from Mount Athos and represents a copy from the Bulgarian skete in Mount Athos “It Is Truly Meet”. It is silver-plated and has been consecrated at the St Pantaleon Monastery at Mount Athos. The icon of the Virgin is taken out of the church for the Friday holy liturgy and on holidays. The icon attracts many believers to the church. A book titled It Is Truly Meet—10 Years of the Icon in the Town of Buhovo was published in 2009 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the icon’s arrival in Buhovo, as well as the numerous miracles that have occurred in front of it.
Location
The town of Buhovo is located 25 km northeast of Sofia, in the southern slopes of the Murgash ridge of Stara Planina, above the Kremikovtsi metal works, between the villages of Yana and Seslavtsi. It is part of the Kremikovtsi district of Sofia Municipality.
Status
The church has been a cultural monument since 1978.
History
Current State
The church is open to visitors every day. The parish priest Georgi Spasov serves there. An akathist (a religious service with singing) is held on Fridays, starting at 16:00 in front the miracle-working icon from Mount Athos. The church holidays are December 6, the Feast Day of St Nicholas of Myra the Miracleworker, and June 11, the Feast Day of the Mother of God—It Is Truly Meet.
Свързани маршрути
1 Buhovo - Sveti Arhangel Mihail Monastery (option 2)
Length
2.4 km
Duration
40 min
Purpose
Hiking route, suitable for mountain bikes also
State
It passes through a steep section of a dirt road with ruts
2 Buhovo - Sveta Maria Magdalena Monastery
Length
3.5 km
Duration
1 hour
Purpose
Hiking route, appropriate for mountain bikes
State
Steep dirt road
Коментари
church-of-st-archangel-michael-at-seslavtsi
Church of St Archangel Michael at Seslavtsi
Environment
Location
The Seslavtsi neighbourhood is part of Kremikovtsi Municipality. It is located 21 km from Sofia. The St Archangel Michael Church is in the northwestern corner of Seslavtsi, at the local cemetery.
Status
The church was declared a cultural monument in 1993; however, no restoration works have been launched so far.
History
Seslavtsi is an old village which enjoyed special privileges during the Ottoman period in exchange for guarding the mountain pass. This allowed the village to have its own church as early as in the 15th-16th century. The church’s initial structure dates back to this period. Additional reconstructions were made in the following centuries. During the Bulgarian National Revival the church underwent more renovations. The latest repairs were carried out in the 20th century.

The initial plan of the church is in tune with the medieval traditions in the region. The church is small, built into the ground, has one nave and one apse, a cylindrical vault and lath-and-plaster ceiling. The church used to have one door, which was later walled in, and a small window in the apse. A narthex was added later. Inside the church there is an altar, a naos and a narthex. The earliest medieval part of the church has massive stone walls and is built into the ground. In the 1980s the church’s exterior was painted white.

The murals inside the church are of artistic value. The iconography of the portrait of the church’s patron saint, St Archangel Michael, is very interesting. There are remains of a mural in the altar depicting the Holy Mother of God Wider than the Sky, the Annunciation, and the Ascension of Jesus Christ. Warrior saints are depicted on the northern wall of the church. The iconostasis was made in the 18th century and has impressive woodcarvings.
Current State
The church was built on a slope and a stone wall surrounds the yard. A bell tower stands a few metres from it. Despite the repeated repairs, the church is in need of an overhaul.
Свързани маршрути
1 Seslavtsi - Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiyski Monastery
Length
1.4 km
Duration
25 min
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route
State
Asphalt and nice dirt road
2 Seslavtsi - Kremikovtsi
Length
2.5 km.
Duration
20 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on nice dirt road, which leads straight to the village
State
3 Seslavtsi - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery (option 1)
Length
2.3 km
Duration
40 min.
Purpose
Hiking route, suitable for mountain bikes, passes through a dirt road and a trail.
State
4 Seslavtsi - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery (option 2)
Length
3 km.
Duration
30 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on dirt road and asphalt.
State
Dirt road and asphalt.
Коментари
church-of-st-paraskeva-at-kremikovtsi
Church of St Paraskeva at Kremikovtsi
Environment
Location
The church stands in the Kremikovtsi district, in the northeastern side of Sofia.
Status
The church was declared an artistic monument of culture in 1973.
History
Judging by the type of the building, the church of St Paraskeva is believed to have been constructed soon after the one at Kremikovtsi—that is, in the early 16th century. An old legend tells that during the Ottoman rule the church was buried into the ground but continued to function. The church’s age is evidenced by a stone candlestick (kept today at the National Church Museum of History and Archaeology of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church) that bears an inscription citing the year 1597, which suggests that something important occurred then. The candlestick was made by the craftsman Vucho Radivoev from Kremikovtsi. The craftsman also made another candlestick, which went to the monastery in Kurilo.

Several construction periods are visible in the church. The oldest part of it is the naos—a single-nave, single-apse structure with a double sloped roof. The church is 6.8 m long and 3.76 m high and is neatly plastered. The apse is semicircular and has a shape that’s rarely seen in Bulgarian churches. Originally the church had no windows and was illuminated through two apertures. Two windows were opened in the middle of the 19th century. A note in the margin of one of the church books provides information about the painters of the murals. It says that in December 1858 the schoolmaster Kosta Valyov, a skilled iconographer from Samokov, painted the church jointly with his son Nikola. The two belonged to the Dospeiskis, a big family of icon painters. The church’s naos is entirely covered with murals, all of them dating back to the same period. They include icons of the most popular martyrs, warrior saints and healers. The icon of St Ivan Rilski is displayed prominently. The iconostasis is unornamented, with two stone candlesticks in front of it, one of them bearing an inscription of the year 1929. The church has undergone several reconstructions, during one of which, in the early 20th century, a narthex was added to its western side.
Current State
In 2004 the murals were partially cleaned by a restorer, but there are still many cracks in the walls, and the church is in need of repairs. The murals need to be restored, for which a draft project was approved in 2005.
Свързани маршрути
1 Seslavtsi - Kremikovtsi
Length
2.5 km.
Duration
20 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on nice dirt road, which leads straight to the village
State
2 Kremikovtsi - Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Monastery
Length
2.3 km.
Duration
30 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on asphalt road with option of short paths on dirt road.
State
3 Kremikovtsi - Lokorsko (option 1)
Length
5.2 km.
Duration
35 min.
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route on dirt road, more interesting for bikes rather than on foot.
State
The dirt road is steep and rutty in places.
4 Kremikovtsi - Lokorsko (option 2)
Length
5.1 km.
Duration
30 min.
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route on dirt road.
State
The dirt road is steep and rutty in places.
Коментари
chapel-of-the-ascension-of-jesus-christ-at-lokorsko
Chapel of the Ascension of Jesus Christ at Lokorsko
Environment

The chapel is located at a place in the village that offers a unique view to Stara Planina. This is the beginning of an ancient road leading to Mount Murgash and crossing beautiful localities—Momina skala (Maiden rock), Lovna hizha (Hunting cabin) and the chalet in the locality Dvata vyrha (The Two Peaks). The height where the chapel stands offers also a view to the protected locality of Turchenitsa; a piece of consecrated ground, The Holy Trinity; and the nearly demolished church of St Nicholas (1868) —a cultural monument—in the Lokorsko cemetery
.
Location
The village of Lokorsko, in the region of Novi Iskar, is located at the foot of Stara Planina, some 15 km from Sofia. It is situated in a beautiful locality and a mixed forest starts from the last houses of the village.
Status
History
The chapel was built in 1997-8 on the site of consecrated ground and the foundations of an old tumbledown building. Local residents contributed to the construction with funding and volunteer work.

The chapel has a surface of some 30 sq m, but that is sufficient for the local parishioners. It was made of “Lokorsko stone” by the “skilled hands” of local masons. The iconostasis is made of cherry wood and holds many icons. Unfortunately, the walls and the dome are still undecorated. At present the chapel has a symbolic “bell tower” with an odd fire bell. A stone water fountain, again donated by the local people, stands beside the chapel.

In the past much of the soil of the land plot belonging to the chapel was used for public works. This part of the land needs terracing and afforestation. In 2000 the property belonging to the chapel was surrounded with concrete posts and barbed wire. A large gate and the entrance door to the property, made of wrought iron by the skilled hands of the Lokorsko craftsmen, decorated the front side of the plot.

Decorative bushes donated by local people were planted along the fence in 2007. The village’s residents would like to build a fireplace and a small kitchen to be able to prepare the numerous offerings made on the occasion of Christian holidays. They also want to buy a bell and place it in a new bell tower so that its sound can be heard throughout the village. They also want to decorate the chapel’s walls.
Current State
Свързани маршрути
1 Kremikovtsi - Lokorsko (option 1)
Length
5.2 km.
Duration
35 min.
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route on dirt road, more interesting for bikes rather than on foot.
State
The dirt road is steep and rutty in places.
2 Kremikovtsi - Lokorsko (option 2)
Length
5.1 km.
Duration
30 min.
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route on dirt road.
State
The dirt road is steep and rutty in places.
3 Lokorsko - Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi
Length
2.5 km.
Duration
20 min.
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route on dirt road. Open, without shadows. Recommended for bikes.
State
The dirt road is in a good condition.
4 Lokorsko - Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi (option 2)
Length
4.2 km.
Duration
1.15 hours
Purpose
Option for passing from Lokorsko to Voynegovtsi through the mountain. Suitable for hiking tourism and for mountain bike cycling.
State
5 Lokorsko - Sveti Spas Church, Lokorsko
Length
1.7 km.
Duration
30 min.
Purpose
Hiking route, suitable for mountain bikes. Short tour in Lokorsko region with option to visit churches Sveti Nikolay Chudotvorec and Sveti Spas, and the consecrated ground Sveta Troica.
State
Коментари
church-of-st-petka-at-voynegovtsi
Church of St Petka at Voynegovtsi
Environment
Location
Voynegovtsi is a neighbourhood in the town of Novi Iskar, part of Sofia Municipality. It stands in the southern slopes of Stara Planina, 16 km from the capital.
Status
The church was declared a cultural monument in 1973.
History
The church of St Petka was built in 1869 and is part of Sofiyskata Sveta Gora. It is a very beautiful church, made of stone and built into the ground. The icons and murals have been recovered, but need additional restoration. At the back of the church there is a stone water fountain with an inbuilt icon of St Petka. The water fountain was built two years ago by church donors.
Current State
The church is in the central square of the village of Voynegovtsi. It is open to visitors every day. Every year on the church holiday, November 14, the Feast Day of St Venerable Paraskeva (Petkovden), the village people honour St Petka, as they believe that the saint is the protector of the village. They leave gifts and flowers in front of the church icon and light candles.
Свързани маршрути
1 Lokorsko - Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi
Length
2.5 km.
Duration
20 min.
Purpose
Cycle and hiking route on dirt road. Open, without shadows. Recommended for bikes.
State
The dirt road is in a good condition.
2 Lokorsko - Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi (option 2)
Length
4.2 km.
Duration
1.15 hours
Purpose
Option for passing from Lokorsko to Voynegovtsi through the mountain. Suitable for hiking tourism and for mountain bike cycling.
State
3 Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi - Podgumer
Length
2.2 km.
Duration
15 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on dirt road, steep and rutty in places.
State
Open road without shadows.
4 Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi - Sveti Dimitar Solunski Monastery
Length
3.4 km.
Duration
1 hour
Purpose
Trail, which leads straight to the monastery.
State
Suitable for hiking and mountain bike cycling.
Коментари
all-saints-church-at-podgumer
All Saints’ Church at Podgumer
Environment
The St Dimitar Monastery, which is in ruins and whose church cannot be used for religious services, is near the village of Podgumer.
Location
The village of Podgumer stands in the northern corner of the Sofia plain, at the foot of Stara Planina, some 15 km from the centre of Sofia. Podgumer is a neighbourhood in the town of Novi Iskar, part of Sofia Municipality. It has existed since the 9th century and has never had its own church. The village is called Podgumer after, according to a legend, the first settler (around the 9th-10th century), and everyone after him built their houses “pod Gumer,” that is, below Gumer. The All Saints’ Church is in St Dimitar Street.
Status
History
The idea for its construction originated in 2000 and a committee was formed a year later to organise it. The committee filed the necessary documents with Sofia Municipality for a gratuitous assignment of the building rights to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. In 2002 the committee upgraded to a church board, which was to supervise the construction of a church in the village. In 2003 the local parish priest inaugurated the new building. The main sponsors are two families from Podgumer.

The church has a surface of 60 sq m. It is a structure made mainly of steel, concrete and bricks. In 2007 the sponsors took full charge of the construction of the church, the making of the iconostasis and the furnishing, thus becoming true church benefactors. The architect Michail Vitanov designed and donated the architectural plan of the church. Bozhidar Zarkov painted some of the murals, and Radoslav Zarkov did the woodcarving. Additional funding is needed to finish the murals and to paint icons in the iconostasis. On 15 May 2010 the church was consecrated and inaugurated by the Bishop of Znepol, Yoan, after three years of hard work on the part of the church board, the donors and local authorities. Relics of St Trifon Martyr were built into the Bishop’s throne in the church. The building is a beautiful white Orthodox church, with a dome. It was built on a height, right to the village hall, in the centre of the village. The church is open to visitors every day. The parish priest, archpriest Dimitar Genchev, serves there. The church is devoted to All Saints, because the village fair, called Presveta (Most Holy), is held on All Saints’ Day. Also the church holiday is celebrated on All Saints’ Day, first Sunday after Pentecost.
Current State
Свързани маршрути
1 Sveta Petka Church, Voynegovtsi - Podgumer
Length
2.2 km.
Duration
15 min.
Purpose
Cycle route on dirt road, steep and rutty in places.
State
Open road without shadows.
2 Vsi Svetii Church, Podgumer - Sveti Dimitar Solunski Monastery
Length
1.5 km.
Duration
10 min.
Purpose
Asphalt road, suitable for cycling. The access to the monastery is restricted at the entrance of the psychiatry.
State
Asphalt road
3 Vsi Svetii Church, Podgumer - Gnilyane
Length
2.3 km.
Duration
20 min.
Purpose
Cycling route on dirt road, asphalt road in the villages.
State
The dirt road is in relatively good condition.
Коментари
church-of-the-dormition-of-the-mother-of-god-at-kurilo
Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God at Kurilo
Environment
Location
The church of the Dormition of the Mother of God is in the Kurilo neighbourhood of the town of Novi Iskar, 12 km from Sofia.
Status
History
The church is located in the Kurilo cemetery. Beside it lie the remains of the old church, which dates back to the 8th-9th century and was dedicated to All Saints. It was demolished during the construction of a railway. This is the oldest surviving church in the region. The current church used to be a small chapel adjacent to the old church. In 1939 the chapel was expanded. It was consecrated in 1942 by Exarch Stefan.
Current State
The church is a single-nave basilica, with stone walls, a bell tower and an iconostasis. The church is functioning and is open to visitors every day. The church holiday is celebrated on 15 August, Dormition of the Mother of God. Many believers gather in the churchyard to honour the Virgin, and offerings are made.
Коментари
sveta-troitsa-church-the-holy-trinity-kumaritsa
SVETA TROITSA CHURCH (THE HOLY TRINITY), KUMARITSA
Environment
Location
The church is in Vute Velev Street and Kremenitsa Street in the Kumaritsa neighbourhood of the town of Novi Iskar, some 12 km north of Sofia.
Status
The church was declared artistic monument of culture in 1973.
History
During the Bulgarian National Revival, the people of Kumaritsa kept abreast of the nation’s general reformist spirit. At the price of a huge amount of gold they obtained a permission to build a church. There are no written accounts of how the village of Kumaritsa came to be. There is an old legend about the settlement and the origin of the names of the villages of Kumaritsa and Slavovtsi. It says that the first settlers here were Slavic, and historians have accepted this information as reliable. A caravan led by the elder Kumarich was travelling on the Roman road to Serdika. Kumarich wanted to settle on the outskirts of Serdika. When the caravan stopped for the night, Kumarich, who was old and sick, died. The newly elected elder decided to remain in this place and thus founded the settlement of Kumaritsa. A Slavic family set up a separate establishment nearby. This was the smaller village of Slavovtsi, named after its founder, Slava. Another version claims that the first residents of the village were immigrants—Cumans—and that is where the name Kumaritsa came from. However, this hypothesis has been challenged, because the Cumans passed through these lands in the 15th century, when the local people already had built a Christian church there. The old church of St Nicholas was built during the Second Bulgarian Empire, but was demolished on three occasions. The church of the Holy Trinity was built in 1904-6 where the old church had been, and is the fruit of the united efforts of the neighbourhood’s residents, who contributed both funding and volunteer work to the construction. The books listing the names of the donors have been preserved. The church building represents a triple-nave basilica made of bricks, with a surface of some 200 sq m. The iconostasis is authentic and features woodcarvings and original icons. There are no murals in the church. The bells are authentic but, unfortunately, the bell tower is falling into ruin. The church has a 3,000 sq m fenced green yard. The residents of Kumaritsa are willing to build a kitchen in the church yard so that they would be able to prepare the offerings made on Christian holidays.
Current State
As there is only one priest servicing several villages in the region, the church is open on Sundays and on Christian holidays. The building is in good condition, save for the above-mentioned problems.

The Kumaritsa neighbourhood can be reached from Sofia by bus lines 26, 27, 29 from the Iliyantsi bus station; by train from the Central Railway Station (to the Kumaritsa station); or by share taxis 18 и 37.
Коментари
church-of-the-ascension-of-jesus-christ-at-katina-st-spas-church
Church of the Ascension of Jesus Christ at Katina (St Spas Church)
Environment
The Katina pyramids—popularly known as The In-laws—are situated on the land of the village of Katina. These are land forms at the southern foot of Sofia Mountain, part of western Stara Planina. They are located mainly in two sites on the land of the village of Katina and have appeared as a result of erosion in the diluvial deposits that have slid from the mountain. In the ravine, the groups called Golemiya dol are more famous. In the past the fourth group (from the bottom up) represented an impressive sand composition up to 30 m high. However, negative processes have been taking place in the last decades, hampering erosion. The artificial lake at the side of the ravine and the natural afforestation of the region have led to a reduction in both the size and the number of the pyramids. Unless decisive steps are taken for their preservation, the only remains of them will be the pictures in old travel guides.
Location
The village of Katina is located at the foot of western parts of Stara Planina, in the Novi Iskar region.
Status
The church has been a cultural heritage site since 1973.
History
The church was built in 1841. This is confirmed by the donor’s inscription, which points to the brothers Drenyo and Valcho as the benefactors and sponsors of the construction. The two brothers are considered the forefathers of the two largest families in Katina; today the neighbourhoods of Drenyovtsi and Valtsi bear their names. The church was built probably on the remains of a smaller old Orthodox church whose traces are still visible today around the church’s bell tower.
Current State
Свързани маршрути
1 Vaznesenie Gospodne, Gnilyane - Sveti Yoan Rilski Monastery, Kurilo
Length
3 km.
Duration
15 min.
Purpose
Cycling route on asphalt road. You drive on the main street and road.
State
2 Sveti Yoan Rilski Monastery, Kurilo - Vaznesenie Gospodne Church, Katina
Length
5.9 km.
Duration
1.30 hours
Purpose
Cycle route on forest road, appropriate for mountain cycling. Option for cycle tourism is the main road from Novi Iskar to Katina.
State
Коментари
the-church-of-the-holy-forty-martyrs-katina-monastery
The Church of the Holy Forty Martyrs (Katina Monastery)
Environment
Location
The church is located some 4 km from the village of Balsha, near the village of Katina, in the Novi Iskar municipality.
Status
History
The church is new; it was consecrated in May 2010, and relics of St Trifon Martyr have been laid in the foundations. Construction started in 1998 on the initiative of Krum Krumov, mayor of Katina in the period 1995–9. The construction works took nearly 12 years. The church was built with the help of the Sofia Bishopric, the local authorities, donations by the Katina population and with sponsorships by private companies. The church was erected on the foundations of an old chapel on the outskirts of the village, built during the Ottoman rule. People used to call this chapel “the monastery”.
Current State
The new church of the Holy Forty Martyrs stands on a slope on the outskirts of Katina. It is not very big and is open only on Sundays and on major Christian holidays. The church’s holiday is celebrated on March 9, the Feast Day of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
Коментари