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Bachkovo Monastery

The Bachkovo Monastery was founded in 1083 by the Byzantine millitary commander, Georgian by origin, Grigorij Bakuriani and his brother Abbasij. Grijorij builds up the monastery in his own feudal lands, and according to the Georgian tradition he dedicates it to the woman-mother, thus naming it The Petrichki Monastery (after the name of the nearby fortress).

 In 1206 Tsar Kaloyan conquerred the Rhodope Mountains and the Bachkovo Monastery occured to be within the boundaries of the Bulgarian State. After 1344, Tsar Ivan Alexander consolidated the Bulgarian rule over the Rhodopes, and the monastery became an important medieval centre of religion and learning.

After the Ottomans invading Bulgaria with fire and sword, the Bulgarian Patriarch Evtimij of Turnovo was exiled to that monastery and created the Bachkovo School of Education there .

The monastery library has preserved many valuable incunabula and old manuscripts. Its most remarkable feature, however, is the unique paintings to be seen everywhere in the churches and the Ossuary - the figure of the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander is discernible on the 11th and 14th century murals, in the Refectory (1601), in the Assumption of the Holy Virgin main church (1604), and in The Holy Trinity and St. Nicholas church (1840), which contains some of the first murals painted by the eminent National Revival artist Zachary Zograph.

The scenery around The scenery around
The scenery around
The scenery aroundThe scenery around the Bachkovo Monastery - located in the colourful Rhodope Moutain valley, on the right bank of the Assentsa River.
The fence around The fence around
The fence around
The fence aroundThe fence around the Bachkovo Monastery
A look from above A look from above
A look from above
A look from aboveA look from the top of the moutain.
Near the monastery Near the monastery
Near the monastery
Near the monasteryOn the top of the mountain near the Bachkovo monastery.
An outside view An outside view
An outside view
An outside viewAn outside view of the Bachkovo Monastery (you can see the entrance gate)
The Monastery Refectory The Monastery Refectory
The Monastery Refectory
The Monastery RefectoryThe Monastery Refectory is built at the 12 th century. In the second half of the 19th century, Alexy Atanassov, a Revival period artist from Assenovgrad , painted the largest-scale composition in Bulgaria on the northern wall of the monastery's Refectory.
The Refectory dining room The Refectory dining room
The Refectory dining room
The Refectory dining roomThe Refectory's dining room is a unique masterpiece of fine art, painted in 1622-1643 by an anonymous master. The composition "Deesis" (presenting Jesus Christ, Holy Mother of God and St. John The Theologian) is painted in the western bay. The vault features murals of Old Testament prophets, as well as Aristophanes, Diogenes, Perikles, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Plutarch, Sybille and Galen.
The 1601 marble table The 1601 marble table
The 1601 marble table
The 1601 marble tableThe marble table, dated from 1601, kept in the Refectory's dining room.
Refectory murals Refectory murals
Refectory murals
 Part of the wall painting Part of the Refectory murals, painted by the Revival period artist Alexi Atanassov.
The Monastery yard The Monastery yard
The Monastery yard
The Monastery yardPart of the fore yard of the Bachkovo Monastery
The main monastery church The main monastery church
The main monastery church
The main monastery churchThe "Assumption of the Holy Virgin" is the main monastery church, dating back to 1604. It has a magnificient icon screen and a "miracle-working" icon of the Mother of God, brought from Georgia in 1311, painted by an unknown icon-master.
The Church of Archangels The Church of Archangels
The Church of Archangels
The Church of ArchangelsThe oldest building in today’s monastery complex is the Church of Archangels, dated from the 12th century. It has an open ground floor, while its second floor was used as a fortified turret. The eminent icon painter Zachary Zograph painted the inside of the vaults in 1841.
Murals on entrance wall Murals on entrance wall
Murals on entrance wall
Murals on entrance wallThe remarkable murals on the walls of the open ground floor of the St. Archangels church.
The main monastery church The main monastery church
The main monastery church
The main monastery churchThe "Assumption of the Holy Virgin" main monastery church, dating back to 1604. The mural paintings are dated from 1643, by an unknown icon master. The naos was painted in 1850 by the eminent Revival period artist Mosko from Edirne.
The icon screen from 1604 The icon screen from 1604
The icon screen from 1604
The icon screen from 1604The "Assumption of the Holy Virgin" main monastery church, with the magnificient icon screen, dated from 1604.
The St. Nicolay Church The St. Nicolay Church
The St. Nicolay Church
The St. Nicolay ChurchThe St. Nikolay Church (St.Nicolas) built in 1836, and painted by Zachary Zograph in 1840.
The Monastery's Ossuary The Monastery's Ossuary
The Monastery's Ossuary
The Monastery's OssuaryThe Ossuary - a two-storey one-nave church, one of the oldest buildings survived (dated from the 11th c.). The ground floor houses the monastery sepulcher, while the upper floor houses the chapel. The images of the monastery's founders Grigorij and Abbasij Bakuriani, of Tsar Ivan Alexander, as well as the composition “Day of Judgement” (dated 11th c.), are painted there. 
The path to the "Kluvia" The path to the "Kluvia"
The path to the "Kluvia"
The path to the "Kluvia"The astonishing scenery around the path to the Holy spring in the area called the “Kluvia”. It was believed to have healed many people.
The Holy Spring The Holy Spring
The Holy Spring
The Holy SpringThe Holy Spring next to the Bachkovo Monastery is visited by thousands of people looking for some cure…
The small rocky church The small rocky church
The small rocky church
The small rocky churchThe small rocky church in the Kluvia area, where the icon of God’s Mother spends several hours on the second day of Easter each year.
Towards the rocky Church Towards the rocky Church
Towards the rocky Church
Towards the rocky ChurchThe stairs leading to the rocky church. Halfway, on the right, a small niche can be seen. According to the legend, the icon had been hidden there during the days of the Turkish oppression. It was accidently discovered by a shepherdm because of the strong sunlight reflected by the icon’s surface.
The Arch.Michael's church The Arch.Michael's church
The Arch.Michael's church
The Arch.Michael's churchThe Archangel Michael's church, built in the 14th century, is located under a high rock in the Kluvia area.
A look towards Bachkovo A look towards Bachkovo
A look towards Bachkovo
A look towards BachkovoThe Bachkovo village is located close to the Monastery.