About Sofia Sveta Gora
Sofia Sveta Gora originated as a medieval complex of 14 monasteries which developed around Sofia and the mountains around it during the Second Bulgarian Empire. The Sveti Georgi Monastery at Bistritsa used to be recognised as lavra, or of the highest rank, and the Dragalevtsi Monastery, named Sveta Bogoroditsa Vitoshka, is also today the most famous among them all. Until the Ottoman incursion there were more than 100 spiritual sanctuaries. Today many of them, whose authenticity have been either preserved or restored, are functioning Eastern Orthodox monasteries—there are over 40 monasteries in the Field of Sofia and the surrounding plains, in Vitosha, Lyulin, Verila and Sofia mountains (Stara Planina’s southern slopes near Sofia) and the adjacent mountains Konyavska Mountain and Golo Bardo, Viskyar mountain, as well as in the villages Burel and Chepan.

Today some of them are either falling apart or deserted. But although lacking the fame of Bulgaria’s largest monasteries, in the sanctuaries of Sofia Sveta Gora, Eastern Orthodox Christianity has been preserved and has always served as the keystone of the Bulgarians’ faith.
About the project
Sofia Sveta Gora pilgrimage and cultural tourism route is based on restoration of a pilgrimage route that links the spiritual sanctuaries around Sofia. The project, initiated 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 chief activities are focused on the improvement and the development of the alternative routes between the churches and monasteries in Sofia Sveta Gora—hiking and bicycle routes—known primarily to a handful of devoted pilgrims and aficionados of active recreation. Part of the steps for the popularisation of this route are putting up of signposts, path marking, publication of information materials and creation and maintenance of a web site.

The project’s pilot stage deals with the northern part of Sofia Sveta Gora and includes nine churches and 14 monasteries in the region between Buhovo and Katina. To become functioning cultural tourism centres, redeveloped routes should be built to connect these sites, as well as public spaces for recreation and various activities. The foundation finances its operations with its own resources and works closely with Sofia Municipality and all state and public institutions whose work is devoted to the development of the treasures in Sofia Sveta Gora.