Bachkovo Monastery, Asenovgrad Municipality, Plovdiv District
Bachkovo Monastery is one of the three largests monasteries in the country and second largest after the Rila Monastery. It is located at 440 m above sea level in the beautiful Rhodope mountain, at the end of the village of Bachkovo. It is easily accessible by car through the main road Plovdiv - Smolyan. It is 175 km away from Sofia, 28 km away from Plovdiv and 12 km away from Asenovgrad.
Bachkovo Monastery “Uspenie Bogorodichno” is visited annually by thousands of Bulgarian and foreign pilgrims and tourists. The Holy Monastery is famous for its miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, its ancient temples, unique frescoes and more.
The monastery complex includes 4 temples. There are also 13 chapels nearby in the area and in Asenovgrad.
The monastery is based in 1083 by the Georgian Gregory Bakuriani - a great deputy of the western troops of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Komnin and his brother Abazius. At the beginning it was the center of the Georgian monasticism. A two-storey ossuary with ancient frescoes by that time is still preserved. It is located very close to the monastery and is the oldest remaining building. The oldest temple in the interior of the monastery complex is the Church of St. Archangels (12-13 c.).
It is believed that after the fall of Turnovo under Ottoman rule in 1393 the last Bulgarian patriarch Evtimiy was exiled in the monastery and continued his literary work here.
Since the beginning of the 17th century the monastery has been renovated. On the foundations of the old Bakurian church the temple “Assumption of the Most Holy Mother” was built (1604). The magnificent iconostasis of the church was made in the early 17th century and is one of the oldest in the country and the icons date back to 17th-18th centuries. The main frescoes are from 1850, painted by the Odrin master Mosko Velev as the first painting layer is from the time of the construction of the church and the remains of it can be seen in the narthex.
In the former monastery dining room (early 17th century) you will be astonished by the preserved frescoes, the original marble table on which the monks fed, the kitchen and more.
In the church “St. Nicholas” (1836) you can see the unique frescoes of the famous Bulgarian icon painter Zahari Zograf.
In the 19th century the Bachkovo Monastery was an important spiritual center. Today in its museum are preserved remarkable works of the church art from various periods - icons, folds of medieval handwritten books and gospels, liturgy and more. In the holy cloister exarch Stefan and Patriarch Kiril were buried.
The greatest sanctuary of the monastery is the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, which is located in the convent monastery temple. It is believed that it is here since the foundation of the monastery. During the captivation of the country by the Ottomans the icon was hidden in the nearby area of Kluvia. At the beginning of the 17th century it was found in a rock niche and transferred back to the monastery. The icon, however, twice returned to herself, and the amazed monks brought her back to the cloister. Then one of the monks had a dream in which the Holy Mother of God requested to be exposed in the congregational church of the of the monastery to the right of the central door in a separate inconstasis with three steps in front of it, so that the icon will meet every person in need and to be always in the temple. Till the present day the miraculous icon is located at the same place in the main monastery church “Assumption of the Most Holy Mother”.
According to another tradition the miraculous icon is a copy of the famous icon of the Virgin Mary, painted by holy Evangelist Luke, and it flew from Georgia to the monastery itself.
The image of the God’s Mother and Child is dressed in silver and gold plating, the older one dates back to 1311 and was given by the two Georgian brothers Athanasius and Ockopir, monks in the holy cloister.
The area of Kluvia, where the icon was found, is located about 2 km from the monastery. Every year, on the second day of Easter, thousands of pilgrims participate in the lithic procession to this holy place in honor and worship of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary and in memory of finding and returning the icon. There is also the church “St. Archangels”, as well as a spring of healing water.
Bachkovo Monastery is an active male monastery. Its temple holiday is on 15th August - Assumption of the Most Holy Mother. It is a national monument of culture and is among the 100 national tourist sites.
There are many shops and stalls on the pedestrian way from the parking to the holy cloister. Here you can buy mountain herbs, homemade sweets, pine honey, wooden and ceramic souvenirs and items. The whole area is very pleasant for a walk.
Tourist sites in the area. Only 35 km away from Bachkovo is the Krastova forest, and nearby is the biosphere reserve “Red Wall” with its natural beauties, about 10 km away is the Asenova Fortress, and about 40 km away is the landmark Wonderful bridges and more.
Accommodations. You can spend the night in the monastery. For pilgrims and visitors there are rooms with bathroom and without. The price of a bed is respectively 20 and 10 levs (as of 2019). If you decide to stay longer in the area you can make a reservation in the village of Bachkovo and in its guest houses.
Bachkovo village, Asenovgrad municipality, Plovdiv district
Tel .: +359 331 6 90 70, +359 3327 22 77 - Abbot; +359 879 151 818; +359 877 783 377; +359 877 427 772 - office; +359 877 111 148; +359 877 181 814 - museum and tourist visits; +359 877 838 068 - accommodation in the monastery inn, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://bachkovskimanastir.com
7.00 - 20.00, no days off /summer time /,
7.00 - 19.00, no days off /winter time /
In the churches of the monastery are celebrated weddings, christenings, etc., more details can be found in the site of the holy cloister: http://bachkovskimanastir.com