- Location: In Bachkovo, 10 km south of Assenovgrad town in southern Bulgaria
- Attraction type: Monastery
- Significance: Second largest monastery of Bulgaria
- Best Time to Visit: May to October
- How to reach: By road from Assenovgrad or Smolyan towns
- Nearest Airport: Plovdiv
Bachkovo Monastery, the second largest monastery of Bulgaria, is a fascinating site within the Chepelare River valley with the Rodhopi Mountains all around. Restaurants, souvenir stalls, and shops on either side of the walkway leading to the main gates of this monastery contribute to the inviting ambiance of this place. The shops here deal in items all grown or manufactured locally in Rodhopi. Home made jams from local fruits, white cheese and yogurt prepared from buffalo or sheep milk, woolen carpets and rare medicinal herbs are some of the commodities sold from these wayside stores.
owards the end of the 11th century, a religious school was started by Bulgaria Bachkovo Monastery. It is interesting to note that after the subjugation of Bulgarian ruler Evtimii by the Ottomans in end 14th century he was sent to exile to this monastery which he enjoyed. Evtimii together with his other scholars carried on cultural and religious activities within the walls of this monastery.
Visiting Bachkovo Monastery
The present structure of Bachkovo Monastery was mainly rebuilt in the 17th century after being totally destroyed by the Ottomans. The dining hall with its wall paintings is fascinating. The Virgin Mary Church reconstructed in 1604 would impress you with its frescos, and an image of Virgin Mary. In addition to Virgin Mary Church the monastery yard has two smaller shrines. In the yard you would notice St. Nikola and St. Archangels shrines. St. Nikola shrine constructed in the 1830s is famous for its paintings including some by Zahari Zograf. Paintings of ancient philosophers like David, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Anaximenes and Diogenes would amaze you.
The museum of the monastery also is a worthwhile visit. Its galleries of Bulgarian art, murals, manuscripts, and church craft are encouraging.
Accommodation in Bachkovo Monastery
Visitors to Bachkovo Monastery may put up in the guest rooms of this place as there is an arrangement for 200 individuals. Apart from the monastery, you might also put up in Hotel Pri Margarita and Ivan, or Hotel Kokiche.
Bachkovo Monastery History
Bachkovo Monastery in Bulgaria was set up by Byzantine military commander Grigorii Bakuriani and his brother Abazii in 1083. Of the original structure, the double storied bone vault still remains as an outstanding representation of Orthodox art dating back to 11th and 12th centuries. These exceptional wall paintings are well preserved and are a major source of tourist attraction. This monastery received considerable patronage of Tsar Ivan Alexander belonging to Second Bulgarian State whose portrait still adorns the walls of bone vault’s arc.