Church of Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno
Bulgaria's most famous monastery is set in a towering forested valley. The 300 monk cells span four levels of colourful balconies,...
Beside the Samokov gate in the northeast of the monastic compound is the Ethnographic Museum, displaying regional folk costumes,...
The monastery's museum, in the compound’s southeastern corner, contains collected 18th- and 19th-century ecclesiastical paraphernalia,...
Outside Rila Monastery's Samokov gate, this fine place has outdoor tables overlooking a brook, and serves traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
Lonely Planet review
(Church of the Nativity), Bulgaria’s grandest monastery church. Built between 1834 and 1837, the structure is crowned by three domes. Its outside walls are covered with frescoes both vivid and harrowing (or humorous, depending on your disposition).
They depict hell, where demons with whips, chains and pitchforks torture sinners in various states of woe and undress. The happier paintings depict the virtuous, accompanied by angels and saints. Some are autographed by Zahari Zograf, most eminent of Rila's painters. The gilded, intricately carved wood iconostasis was created by master artisans from Samokov and Bansko.