The Rila Monastery (Rilski Manastir) is located in 1147 meters altitude in the middle of the fragrant coniferous forests of Rila Mountain.
The monastery is a complex of cultural, dwelling and farming buildings which take about 8800 square meters. The Rila Monastery has an unique architecture. Outside, the monastery looks like a fortress. It has 24-meter stone walls which forms irregular pentagon. That’s why when some tourist enters the monastery’s yard from some of the two iron gates he is surprised by its architecture: arches and colonnades, covered wooden stairs and carved verandas and the 300-400 monastic cells. The Hreliov’s tower and the main church “The Nativity of the Virgin” cohabit at the center of the yard. This tower was created by the local feudal lord Hrelio in 1334-1335. A small church stays next to it and it is only a couple of years younger (1343). A bell-tower was added to the tower in 1844. The main church “The Nativity of the Virgin” was built in these times. Its architect is a master Peter Ivanovich, who worked on it in 1834-1837. The temple has five domes, three altars and two chapels. Maybe the most important thing in the church is the iconostasis which has incredible wood-carving. The wall-paintings were completed in 1846 by many masters from Bulgaria, but only Zahary Zagraph signed his paintings. In the church there are lots of icons created in XIV-XIX.