About Chiprovtsi Monastery
The Chiprovtsi Monastery is a small monastic centre which lies about 5km from the town of Chiprovtsi, dedicated to St. John of Rila (also known as St Ivan).
Chiprovtsi Monastery history
Chiprovtsi is a small town in northwestern Bulgaria, administratively part of Montana Province. It lies on the shores of the river Ogosta in the western Balkan Mountains, very close to the Bulgarian-Serbian border. A town of about 2,000 inhabitants, Chiprovtsi is the administrative centre of Chiprovtsi Municipality that also covers nine nearby villages. Chiprovtsi is thought to have been founded in the Late Middle Ages as a mining and metalsmithing centre.
The first building to be constructed on the site was probably built in the tenth century during the First Bulgarian Empire, when the area became increasingly Christianised. The Chiprovtsi Monastery has since served as a centre of learning and religious study and is still a functioning monastery today.
The history of the Chiprovtsi Monastery has often been turbulent. The holy site participated in the country’s struggle against Ottoman rule that culminated in 1688 with the Chiprovtsi Uprising, when the monastery was used as a refuge for the insurgents.
The monastery has been destroyed several times, with the worst destruction occurring after the failed Chiprovtsi Uprising. The monastery church was built at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century. It has a single nave and apse. The Saint Atanasiy Veliki Chapel, which was built in 1880, is located in one of the wings that house the monks.
Chiprovtsi Monastery today
The monastery complex consists of a church, monastic cloister, small cemetery and ossuary on the ground floor, a chapel on the second, tower-bell on the third floor. The complex is surrounded by a stone wall with three entrances.
Today, it is possible to visit the Chiprovtsi Monastery, though keep in mind that, as this is a working monastery, visiting times and access may be limited.
Getting to Chiprovtsi Monastery
The monastery is situated at the foot of Yazova Mountain. It is roughly 7km northeast of Chiprovtsi village; take any bus between Montana and Chiprovtsi.