Rila Monastery = the Jerusalem of Bulgaria

We rented a car for the weekend and on Saturday we drove south of Sofia, to Bulgaria's most visited tourist site = the Rila Monastery. This was the first time I (Ellis) had driven in Bulgaria, but aided by the car's GPS, a collection of maps and a bit of time spent reading the guide book, traveling and navigation were not a problem.

We drove into the Rila Mountains, through the village of Rila and arrived at the monastery itself. The monastery is a tribute to John of Rila, a hermit who lived in a cave in the area for 12 years.

The monastery, first built in the 10th Century and rebuilt a few times since, is considered the Jerusalem of Bulgaria, probably due to the fact that it attracts both pilgrims and tourists.

The monastery is home to monks, some of whom wandered in and out of the dark church while we were inside.

One interesting building we went into was the old monastery's kitchen, with its hole in the ceiling.

There were many other tourists around, both local Bulgarians and foreigners.

While we were inside the monastery grounds, we heard one clap of thunder, but luckily the rains stayed away. We could see snow on the distant peaks, even though it was July.


  1. Do you have the GPS address of this great place?

  2. do you have more information about
    other places in this region

    Nissim Shaked


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