Troyan Monastery – Troyanski manastir, Bulgaria - Atlas Obscura

Troyan Monastery

Troyanski manastir, Bulgaria

At this 16th-century monastery in rural Bulgaria, visitors can also spend the night.  

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The Troyan Monastery is the third-largest in Bulgaria and is located in the north, nestled amongst the Balkan mountains. It’s located on the outskirts of the small village of Oreshak and was founded in the 16th-century. Luckily, parts of the monastery survived attacks by Turks and represents a small part of the monastery’s colorful past.

The monastery is adorned with impressive frescoes that focus on religious themes. These include fire-breathing demons and angels reviving the dead out of their coffins. On one of the windows near the back of the church, the artist Zahari Zograph even painted himself, a highly controversial move at the time. The monastery is home to one of the most important icons in Bulgarian orthodox religion, a carved, wooden “Three-Handed Virgin.” Visitors can also view the crypt along with several skulls. 

While this building is very impressive in its own right, one of the things that makes it so special is the ability to stay the night. Resident monks are happy to take visitors into their home for an evening. 

Know Before You Go

The monastery is about a 15 minutes walk outside the town. It is signposted. If you want to stay the night there is no online booking but it's off the regular tourist trail, so if you turn up you should get a bed alright. Basic, very clean accommodations and is well worth a stay.

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