Bulgaria is a small country located at the crossroad between Europe and Asia, which preserves thousand year old history and rich cultural heritage.
Begin your exciting journey from the capital of the country – Sofia – where you can embark in the path of ancient saints and great rulers.
As a large Medieval city, Sredets (the ancient name of Sofia) had a serious influence on the economic and political development of Bulgaria. During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the city was a metropolitan centre, with many churches and serious spiritual presence.
During this period, a large number of monasteries were founded in the outskirts of the city – some researchers consider their number to be above 100, while others point to around 50.
Most of them were situated on the slopes of the surrounding mountains: Vitosha, Lozen, the Balkan, Plana. Monasteries located on the open plains were also not uncommon.
This spontaneous concentration of spiritual cloisters continued its existence for centuries and is called the Sofia Lesser Holy Forest, much like the Aton peninsula in Greece and its monasteries.
Part of the monasteries of the Sofia Holy Forest have succeeded in preserving themselves to this day; they withstood five centuries of Ottoman rule, the attacks of the Kurdzhali tribes, calamities and natural disasters.
Most of the monasteries from the ages of the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdoms were constructed on the slopes of the mountains encompassing the Sofia Plain .
Built to maintain the Bulgarian spirit and traditions, to provide a place for expression and then preserve impressive works of Medieval art, many times destroyed and built anew, the temples and monasteries in the tourist region Sofia – Ihtiman – Svoge are still one of the most remarkable cultural monuments, attracting tourists from the country and abroad with their history.
The preserved monasteries, part of the complex of the Sofia Lesser Holy Forest, positioned along the Vitosha mountain and its neighbouring mountains, are a natural magnet for a close-up experience with the spiritual.
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