Dragalevtsi monastery, Sofia
Uspenie Bogorodichno /Assumption/ Dragalevtsi girls’ Monastery is located in the surroundings of city of Sofia – about 2 km away from the Dragalevtsi district, in the beautiful nature at the foot of the Vitosha mountain. In order to get there you need to take an asphalt road which diverts from the road to Aleko Chalet and Cherni Vrah Mount.
The monastery was founded around the middle of the 14th century by Tsar Ivan Alexander /1331-1371/. It is considered to be the most elevated one among the group of monasteries that arose in the region in 14th-15th centuries and formed the Sofia Mount Athos. Records about its foundation and privileges were found in the given to the monastery gold-printed Vitosha certificate from Tsar Ivan Shishman /1371-1395/. After the conquest of Bulgaria by the Ottomans, the monastery was deserted. In 1476, Radoslav Mavar, the Sofia boyar, restored and painted the church. Up until today, the donators’ portraits of him and his family have been preserved. It was decorated with new frescoes in the 17th and 18th centuries, where parts of both of the paintings layers have been preserved. Before and during the Revival period, the monastery was the center of a lively literary and educational activity, and there was also a church school. A number of liturgical books /among which is the Boyana Memorial from 1612/ were rewritten and decorated here. Today they are included in various collections and in the monasteries of Athos.Vasil Levski, the Apostle of Freedom (1837-1873), stayed many times in the monastery during his revolutionary activity.
In the 20th century, a new church was built on the north side of the old church, and the two temples are under one and the same roof. For about 50 years now, the ancient part of the temple has been in restoration works and is not open for visits. In its new part, visitors can see wall paintings from the 17th century and ancient icons. The other buildings /residential and business/ in the monastery complex are new and are not open for visitors and overnight stays.
The monastery is a cultural monument with national importance. It is one of the most visited sites in the area.