The BACHKOVO Monastery "Uspenie Bogorodichno"

 H I S T O R Y
Erected in a magnificent locality along the
reaches of the Assenitsa River (29 km south
of Plovdiv), the Bachkovo monastery ranks
second after the Rila Monastery both with
regard to size, and to architectural, artistic and literary signifi-
cance. It was founded by the Georgian Grigorii Bakuriani in 1083.
Almost immediately after its foundation, the monastery turned into
a wealthy landowner, its properties stretching as far as Salonika.
In 1344 Tsar Ivan Alexander established his rule over the Rodo-
pite, populated the monastery with Bulgarians, and generously
donated to it. His full-length portrait stands next to the figures of
Bakuriani and his brother Apassii in the narthex, of the upper floor
of the ossuary - the only building remained from the mediaeval
monastery after its destruction in 16th c. standing alone in the
woods today, apart from the new "complex". Spared during the
first wave of enslavement Bachkovo monastery became the pri-
son of the last Bulgarian Patriarch Euthymius, who was exiled
here, where he continued his literary work.
    Rila monastery
 l Bachkovo monastery
    Troyan monastery
    Rojen monastery
    Aladja monastery
    Glojenski monastery
    Cherepish monastery
Thracian tombs
World's oldest gold
The Madara horseman
Old Bulgarian Capitals
Museum towns
Old fortresses
 A R C H I T E C T U R E
The monastery's biography is inevitably
reflected in the architectural face of the
ossuary. Its general idea is foreign to old
Bulgarian art, and is clearly influenced by
Syrian and Armenian-Georgian building.
At the same time, the construction of
parallel rows of stones and bricks was
unknown there, and that is the construc-
tion method of Pliska and Preslav - the
capitals of the First and the Second
Bulgarian Kingdom.
 A R T
The preserved murals on two floors are a valuable
document of an age that has left us with fairly few
artistic testimonies. Painted during 11th and 12th
centuries, the murals are result of a monumental-
spiritualistic style of the time when the theocratic
system of the Byzantine rule was most powerful:
stern figures, foreign to all worldly things, forceful
and severe drawing, enamel gleaming colour.
An  interesting proof of  the cultural level
of the monastic brotherhood are the mu-
rals in the refectory displaying the upright
figures of theancient philosophers Aristo-
teles, Aristophanes, Diogenes, David,
and Anaximenes. Bachkovo
Monastery  was one of the most signifi-
cant spiritual and literary centres of the
National Revival period. In 1837 the deci-
sion was taken for a new church to be
built: St. Nikola.
Its murals, completed in 1840 were
the first documented work of the
great National revival artist Zahari
. The murals, the old icons
from different periods, the manu-
scripts and incunabula with artistic
facings, as well as the many objects
linked with church crafts, turned
Bachkovo Monastery into one of the
richest galleries of old Bulgarian art.


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