Cherepish Monastery Assumption of the Virgin

If you are traveling to Vratsa region, there is one place you absolutely cannot miss: the Cherepish Monastery. This beautiful and historic place played an important role in Bulgarian history and connected with many prominent Bulgarians, including Pimen Zografski, Sofroniy Vrachanski, Dimitar Obshti, Ivan Vazov, Aleko Konstantinov and many others. Nestled at the foot of the Vratsa Balkans, on the banks of the Iskar River, the monastery is located opposite the breathtaking Ritlite area.

In fact, Felix Kaninc (1829-1904), a famous traveler and explorer, once declared that “Cherepish is the most beautiful and attractive place in the Balkans!” And he was not alone in this opinion. Cherepish Monastery has been a beloved destination for centuries, attracting visitors from far and wide to admire its beauty and immerse themselves in its rich history.

Discover the rich history of Cherepish Monastery in Vratsa Balkan

According to a document kept in the Historical and Archaeological Museum of the Sofia Church, the Cherepish Monastery was built during the reign of Tsar Ivan Shishman in 1392. Legend has it that the monastery got its name from the peeling bones of fallen soldiers after a memorable battle. between the troops of Tsar Ivan Shishman and the Turkish invaders in the area.

During the years of Ottoman slavery, the Holy Monastery was repeatedly burned, devastated and abandoned by the monks, only to be rebuilt and rebuilt again and again. At the end of the 16th century, the famous painter and writer St. Pimen of Sofia undertook the restoration of the monastery, remaining there until his death in 1610, as described in his life and in "Slavic Bulgarian History". St. Pimen modeled the monastery after the Zograf Monastery in Athos, and his stunning frescoes can still be seen today in the oldest building on the site, the Church of St. Assumption", built in the 14th century. The walls of the church are nearly a meter thick, the result of repeated strengthening during the years of Turkish rule. Visitors can also see the relics of the holy silverless brothers Damian and Cosmas, who are believed to have healing powers.

Cherepish monastery: where Bulgarian history and spirituality meet

During the Renaissance, the monastery became an educational center, with a cell school, where books, lives and gospels were copied and written. Some of the most valuable Bulgarian medieval literary works were created here, including the Cherepish Gospel, the Gospel of Daniel, the Apostle of Jacob the Scribe and the collection of the teachings of Pope Todor - "Margarit". In 1797-1798, Sophronius Vrachanski, driven out by the Kardjalian raids, sought refuge in the monastery. According to monastery traditions, the great bishop of the Bulgarian Church found shelter for 24 days in one of the numerous caves near the place, known today as "Sofronieva" (Vrachanska 1936). The Cherepish monastery also gave refuge to many of the Botev Chetniks. Not far from the monastery is the "Rashov dol" area, where a significant battle took place between a part of the Boteva detachment led by Georgi Apostolov. In the courtyard of the monastery is the ossuary, where the bones of dead monks and Chetniks are kept. Visitors can see the small ossuary chapel on the right as they enter the monastery courtyard, accessible by steep stone steps.

Today, the monastery is not in its best days (the only monk is Archimandrite Ioannikius, abbot of the monastery), but it still attracts thousands of visitors and pilgrims from all over the world. The monastery has a part for overnight stays with a capacity of 30 people.
Magernitsa offers monastery cuisine and traditional Bulgarian dishes in its modest setting.

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With a uniquely beautiful nature and a rich and interesting history, the city of Vratsa is a real paradise for lovers of tourist life.

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