Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria. Destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, the complex was rebuilt between 1834 and 1862. A characteristic example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries), the monument symbolizes the awareness of a Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation.
- Founded by the hermit John of Rila, it is the first Christian monastery in Bulgaria.
- After a devastating fire, it was rebuilt and fortified (c.1334–35) in its present location by the feudal lord Khrelio.
- The present-day monastery’s look was designed by Aleski Rilets, the first Bulgarian architect.
Year of Inscription: 1983
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