After the visit to Prohodna cave, we travelled 35 km to Glozhene monastery. The male monastery is a must see place in Bulgaria. Located on a hill in the Balkan Mountains (in the part Vasiliovska mountain), you reach the holy place after driving 6 km on a tiny mountainous road after Maluk izvor village. Be careful, it is difficult to share the road with the coming cars. And if you are with a big bus, you need to call the monastery to stop the traffic going down. Anyway, the road is beautiful with curves going deep in the forest.
After 15 min you will find the parking where you can leave the car and pay 2 BGN for the stay. We decided to walk 300m because the area is with so nice and fresh air. It is more pleasant than driving to the second parking. And there is the first view to the Glozhene monastery.
Glozhene monastery: a one day trip from Sofia
After 100m more you are entering through the gate into 13 c. BC, when the Glozhene monastery was established. His patron is St. George. Today 4 Bulgarian monks live there. You will meet them and will be able to talk to them.
Legends about Glozhene monastery
There are a lot of legends about the history of the monastery, which is like a nest at the foot of the Kamen lisets hill. The most popular is dating back to 13 c. The king Georgi Glozh of Kiev came in the region, fleeing from the Tatar soldiers. The Bulgarian tsar Ivan Assen gave him a territory where to settle – today the Glozhene village. The view to the village you can enjoy from the old part of the monastery.
Georgi Glozh decided to build a monastery but at some other place nearby. He also brought the wonder making icon of St. George. The building was almost ready. But according to another legend the building started getting ruined. And the icon disappeared several times and was found at the area of the Glozhene monastery today. So this is how they chose the location of the holy place.
The old part of the monastery is wooden. And there is a small museum. This is the room of Mitropolit Kliment (Vasil Drumev), who spent 9 months here because of his speech, protecting the Christianity. Unfortunately, it was on the same day of the engagement of King Ferdinand, who was a Catolic, and the Prime Minister Stambolov decided that this is provocative and ordered to get him expelled in the monastery. After the death of Stambolov the writer Vasil Drumev got his freedom back. You need to pay just 0.50 BGN and you can visit the room where he used to live. Please, don’t forget, you need to pay for taking photos or videos in the holy place. (3 BGN for photos and 10 BGN for videos).
Another historical Bulgarian man used to visit often the Glozhene monastery. This is the Bulgarian revolutionary Vassil Levski, who was fighting for our Liberation from the Ottomans. You can visit the room, where down on the ground you will find the secret hiding place of Vassil Levski. The view from this room is breathtaking.
The main church of Glozhene monastery
The main church of the monastery was destroyed by an earthquake 100 years ago. So they built a new one in 1913, where you can light a candle in front of the authentic old iconostasis.
When you enter to the left you will find the icon of St. George with silver coverage. His icon, as patron of the monastery, is placed next to the Virgin Mary icon on the left part of the wooden iconostasis. The energy in this small church is magical. And the time stops, you just stay in the middle, close your eyes and thank God.
When you go out above the door you will see the painting of the two brothers Cyril and Methodius, who wrote the Slavic alphabet. Their students are represented too.
Very often children get baptized in the monastery. Especially, if they have the name George (Georgi in Bulgarian). I was lucky to meet a family, who came to baptize a young boy. They were dressed in traditional Bulgarian costumes. This brought the history spirit and I felt the atmosphere of an old Bulgarian movie.
My group left while I was talking to them and taking pictures. The costumes are really nice idea to keep the tradition alive through generations. Suddenly the weather changed and it got darker. The Mother Nature invited us to leave. Yet I couldn’t resist to one last look back to this beautiful monastery.
If you have more time, you can walk in the area. There is an old drinking fountain (5 min.) and the Morovitsa cave (50 min). During the Ottoman period the Bulgarians were hiding inside the cave. But the Ottomans closed the entrance and started a fire. This way they killed the local people and from the word ‘Mor/Murder” comes the name of the cave.
I left this for my second visit. There are such places, where you have the feeling and you know that you will return. Why not with an overnight? You can stay in some of the rooms in the new part of the monastery with an advanced notice.
With a smile, walking down with the happy family, in a hurry I took their email to send the photos and said Goodbye (Довиждане in Bulgarian.) The photographers are always late, running behind the group. 🙂
On the way back to Sofia it started raining, but after such a day you feel the love and see with your heart. The bad weather cannot change your mood. Such trips to the nature and holy places disconnect me from the daily life in the big city. So I obtained my positive energy for the next week until the new adventure comes.
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