Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Country / Bulgaria

Troyan monastery

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Troyan monastery

About the site

Corridor: Eastern Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Bulgaria, Troyan
Type: Christian religious centre
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Christian Monasteries
World Heritage:
Middle AgesChristian MonasteriesChristian religious centre

The Troyan monastery, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is situated on the northern slopes of the Balkan range, some 5km to the south of the town of Troyan. According to the chronicles, two hermits coming from Mount Athos founded the monastery around 1600. Later on, passing on his way to Vlashko (Romania) settled another monk from Mount Athos, carrying the miraculous icon “The Three-handed Virgin Mary”. Each time the monk decided to continue his way, somehow the icon came back to the monastery. Thus the relic remained in the monastery forever. A number of monks were attracted by the site later and the monastery developed rapidly.
Typical for Troyan monastery are the three courtyards - for the faithful, for the monastery workshops and for the monks. Thus an interesting space gradation and first impression upon entering is created. Through the large gate built in a low stone wall one enters in a peaceful picturesque courtyard: in front is the three storey façade of the monastery wings, to the right is the four storey wing with the wooden verandas, sunk in deep shade, while to the left – two low buildings, above which lines out the picturesque panorama of the surrounding hills. Through a porch one enters through the transverse wing into the main monastery courtyard. A picturesque church with a bell-tower and the wooden verandas of the wings form are the outline of that courtyard. For the decorations of the church “The Holy Assumption” the monks invited in 1847 one of the most outstanding painters form the period of the Bulgarian Revival - Zahari Zograph from Samokov. His wall paintings cover all inner walls of the church and the outside western and northern galleries. On one of the facades in the monastery courtyard the master depicted the images of a lion and elephant, symbol of the might and calm of the Bulgarian people. The wood carved iconostasis, whose main effect is the natural noble colour of the wood, was created by skilful woodcarvers from the nearby town of Tryavna. Besides the works of religious art, in Troyan monastery are kept various objects of art and handicrafts. The monastery was also famous during the period of the Bulgarian Revival as a spiritual and cultural centre. Thus, throughout the centuries the monastery became home-place of the Bulgarian creative art.

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