Rozhen Monastery

The monastery is located 5 km. from the town of Melnik. It is the biggest religious temple in the Pirin region and one of the oldest spiritual centers in Bulgaria. It is assumed that it was founded during the reign of Despot Alexius Slav (12-13 c.), a nephew of Tsar Kaloyan, with the donations of the residents from neighboring villages – Kurlanovo, Rozhen and Lyubovishte. The monastery is experiencing a revival in the XVI century with the building of the main church and the dining room, but after then was set on fire several times. In XVII century the temple has been restored again and began to take its present form. It reaches its upsurge in the XIX century when it served as a regional cultural center. It has the shape of an irregular hexagon with its residential area surrounding a beautiful yard where Nativity of the Mother of God Monastery Church with Sts Cosmas and Damian Chapel is found. Inside there are wall paintings from 1573. The iconostasis is a master work with rich decoration. An interesting fact is that here painters and carvers, in contrast to other monasteries do not adhere to the Byzantium iconography models, from which Bulgaria accepted Christianity. Like other monasteries in Bulgaria Rozhen has its miraculous icon-protector – Virgin Mary. It is an exact copy of the miraculous icon Virgin Mary – Portarnitsa and is painted by painter Iakov. Next to the monastery there is a chapel representing two-storey ossuary built in 1597. and named “Birth of St. John the Baptist.” Kept almost intact its original architecture and murals Rozhen monastery is visited by many tourists and pilgrims from all around the world. On the patron saint’s day – September 8 (Virgin Mary), Rozhen meadows are filled with people who came with hope for healing. It is included in the 100 National Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.

Where to stay near the Rozhen Monastery