Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Country / Bulgaria

Rozhen Monastery

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Rozhen Monastery

About the site

Corridor: Western Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Bulgaria, Melnik
Type: Christian religious centre
Epoch: Modern Times
Theme: Christian Monasteries
World Heritage:
Modern TimesChristian MonasteriesChristian religious centre

The monastery of Rozhen, one of the biggest and oldest ones in Bulgaria, is situated 6km to the east of Melnik, in South Western Bulgaria. It located in a picturesque environment within an impressive landscape with age-old trees, wide meadows and vertical sand rocks.
Data prove the existence of the monastery ever since the 12th c. but the earliest written resources date back to 1551. The original outlook of the monastery is unknown, no one can tell what defeats it suffered, but it is known for sure that in the 16th c. it ought to be reconstructed. By the beginning of the 18th c. was carried out total reconstruction and renovation of the church. The roof was replaced, stained glass decorated the windows (1715); the interior decoration and furniture were entirely renovated (1732). The monastery wings with their typical wooden galleries were reconstructed in the 19th c. and thus the entire ensemble was finally molded.
The main monastery church (27 x 13m) is a three-aisle pseudo-basilica with three apses and wooden roof. The specific characteristics of its building structure date it back to the 16th c.; from the same building period are also the wall paintings in the narthex, as well as the decoration of the North Western chapel (wall paintings and part of the small iconostasis. From the next building period (1732) are the wall paintings in the nave and the big iconstasis in the church - work of anonymous woodcarver master. At the end of 18th and beginning of 19th c. an additional chapel was built in the altar with a new small iconostasis with exceptional value of its plastic decoration.
In the 80ies of the 20th c., because of its high cultural and historical value, the monastery of Rozhen was entirely restored preserving to a maximum the authentic substance.

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