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The Bulgarian monasteries in:
Rila Mountain, Pirin Mountain, Rhodopes Mountain, Balkan (Stara Planina) Mountain, Vitosha Mountain, rock monasteries

The Pirin Mountain


Rozhen Monastery
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The Pirin Mountain (Vihren Peak at 2914 m) is the second highest mountain in Bulgaria and the third highest mountain on the Balkan Peninsula. Three of the Pirin peaks are higher than 2900 m, and more than 90 of them reach above 2500 m. The Thracians called Vihren Peak Orbelus - "snow mountain". The Slavs named it after their thunder god Perun, who according to their beliefs dwelled on the inaccessible mountain peaks. This is an appropriate name for this wild, rugged mountain, which is one of the most beautiful Bulgarian moun­tains, with its numerous lakes (some 160), hidden in deep cirques. The typical alpine landforms such as trog valleys, cirques, ridges and moraines are found mainly in North Pirin, the most frequently visited region. A large part of the mountain has been made a national park, biosphere reserve and is on the UNESCO world natural and cultural heritage list. It offers more than 2000 higher plants (white and black fir), many endemic and rare species (edelweiss and Pirin tea) and indigenous animals.


Rozhen Monastery, painting
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The Rozhen Monastery was erected in 1220 in the foot of the Pirin Mountain, on a place where there had been ancient shrines. In the 14th centu­ry, the monastery was the center of a calligraphic school. It was a Greek convent for a period of time. It was the refuge of lane Sandanski, a national liberation leader who is buried nearby. The frescoes in the monastery ossuary date from 1662. It has unique woodcarved iconostases and the church stained glass from 1715 is the only one of its kind in Bulgaria. Rozhen is the most distinctive monastery in Southwestern Bulgaria.


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Last update: Wed, 22 August, 2007 16:41