|Borovets, Musala Peak
||Bansko, Razlog, Dobrinishte
||Kostenets, Dolna Banya
|Belitsa, Yakoruda, Dobarsko
||Samokov, Belchin, Govedartsi
|Melnik, Rozhen monastery
||Sapareva banya, Panichishte, Maljovitza
The Rila's monastery St. Ivan Rilski is 1147 m above sea level, and it is the most famous one in Bulgaria. It impresses with its size, the beautiful nature, the architecture, the mural paintings and its ancient history. It is rounded by the small mountain rivers Rilska and Drushlyavica. The biggest peak in the Rila - Musala is on 8 hours way. The complex is good develop tourist centre. There is a road to the monastery which is diverted from the road Sofia-Atina. A lot of tourist routes passes this place and even the international road E 4 Iberia-Alpine-Rila-Olimp.
The hermit St. Ivan from Rila was lived here in X century in a cave near the today’s complex. The monastery was built by disciples of St. Ivan and his relics are shown in the main church. Every Bulgarian kings of the Middle Ages made donations for the monastery. It was a culture and spiritual centre. Its apogee was between XII and XIV c. When the Turkish came in this lands the monastery was attacked and destroyed in the middle of XV c.
In the end of the century the monastery again revived. The revival in XVIII and XIX c. made one additional push for its restoration. It was built with succours from whole Bulgaria. In its today’s appearance the monastery is from XIX c. The structure of the residential buildings started in 1816. In the middle of the inside yard is raised the oldest building in the complex - a stone tower of Sebastocrator Hrelu (1334). Directly next to the tower is a small church from 1343. In 1844 in the tower was added a belfry.
The main monastery’s church The Born of the Virgin Mary was built in 1834-37. The temple is 5-domes, with three altar niches and two side chapels. One of the most valuable things inside is the iconostas with the incredible wood-carving. The mural-paintings were finished in 1846 and they were deed of many masters, but just the famous Zahari Zograf signed his paintings. There are a lot of valuable icons in the church. The whole complex is with impressive size.
The residential part is 4- storey with 300 cells, 4 chapels, abbot’s room, kitchen, library, rooms for donors. The kitchen is very interesting with huge vessels. The walls are high and stone. There are small windows which were cut off from the walls and they remind of war fortification.
Like every Bulgarian monasteries in the times of the Turkish slavery, the Monastery was a centre of the spiritual and culture life. In these times the monks created new creations and they made copies of different famous authors from Turnovo and Aton schools. In the monastery museum there is an unique work of art The Cross of Rafael. It was made from full wood piece (81 x 43 sm.). The monk Rafael used fine chisel, small knifes and magnifying glasses to mould the in cross 104 religion scenes and 650 small figures. His work was more than 12 years until 1802 - then the monk lost his eye sight.
The Rila's monastery is a national historical memorial, which was entered in the book of UNESKO for world inheritance. Near the monastery are the two cells Orlica and Pchelino. Orlica is 3 km from town Rila, on the road for the Rila's monastery and it comes from the time of King Ivan Shishman (1378). Pchelino is the farm grange of the monastery. In the end of XIII century it was built the Church The Assumption.
High in the mountain are situated two other architecture-historical ensembles. The anchoress St. Ivan Rilski where was at first the grave of the saint and St. Luka (1843). The neighbouring place is a developed tourist centre with multitude hotels and restaurants. It should not let through the delicious mountain trout from the Rilska river.
The Nature park Rila's Monastery is in the topest part of the rivers Rilska and Ilina. The all slope is carved from steep gullies, at whose deep and steep troughes sag to river Rilska much Avalanches and falling of stones. The plant of the Park is an unique and mixed. Meet Approximately 162 kinds of blackboard erasers, 150 types are mosses. The head plants are approximately 1400 types from which 71 are in the Red book in Bulgaria.
There are 28 arctic leaks. In highest place is the first of The Devil’s leaks - 2445 m, lowest is The Dry leak (1892 m). The largest alpestrine leak is stinking on the Balkans. They sweep through the territory at the park. Lot of rivers Rilska, Ilina, Drushliovica, Ovchova and so on. 36 peaks are with acme over 2000 m.