Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Western Trans-Balkan Road

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery

About the site

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

Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex, which subsequently played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. The monument is a characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries) and symbolizes an awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation.


Read more about Rila Monastery at the Unesco World Heritage List.