Kapinovski мonastery and Plakovski monastery

Kapinovski мonastery
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   Near the limpid and sparkling waters of the river Veselina in the foothills of the picturesque Elena Balkan is located Kapinovski monastery "St. Nikolai ". It is one of the biggest monasteries in Bulgaria, a remarkable monument of the old Bulgarian architecture and art.Huge wooden gates and steep stone steps are leading out from the buildings within the large monastery courtyard. In the middle of the yard the monastery church is nestled on the cornice of the altar apse its recorded date in 1272, probably in the tradition of the monastery during the reign of King Constantine Asen (1257-1277). It was destroyed at the end of the XIV century. During the Ottoman invasion, according to written notices Kapinovo monastery was rebuilt in XVI century., And at the end of the century there was active literary activity. However, the data on the activities of the monastery in the later period of Ottoman rule is almost absent. Probably like all monasteries around Turnovo Kapinovski Monastery was repeatedly ravaged and destroyed by the Turks and re-built by the Bulgarian population. The existence of a monastery in the XVIII century is testified by "Kapinovo Monument-triptych" launched in 1700 at the time of the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Theodosius. About the later existence of the monastery suggest some dates carved on iconostasis and some large iconostasis icons from 1811 and 1820.
 4  The main renovation of Kapinovo monastery was probably made ​​in 1835 when Dryanovo masters Pentcho and Racho built today oblong nave church with a dome oblong nave and a hall. Additionally, from its western side was built an open wooden narthex. In 1845 the west wall of the church under the open narthex artist John Popovich from the town of. Elena drew extensive composition "Doomsday" - one of the largest mural compositions in the history of the Bulgarian monumental paintings. The same artist has painted scenes from Six Days on the lower part of baffle wall between the hall and the nave of the church. Some icons preserved in the church also belong to him.Renovation and expansion of Kapinovo monastery continued in subsequent years. In 1864,with the resources two donators from the town of Elena - Horozovi brothers were raised today's impressive two-storey buildings with large wooden balconies. In building them high on the north wall outside the front door were painted images of the Slavic educators Cyril Constantine and Methodius. Along with the mural on the wall was painted a commemorative inscription for the renovation of the monastery by the brothers Horozovi.
  Built on two floors in the style of Renaissance architecture, the buildings are in the shape of a wide arc to the south open to the yard. Their spacious shaded wood porches create in the monastery atmosphere of intimate mood and a feeling of home snug. Seen from the north, they attach to the monastery view of the medieval fortress.
   In the course of the eastern part of the residential buildings in 1864 was built the chapel "Blessed Virgin", entirely decorated with frescoes, as suggested by Asenovgrad painter Alexius Atanasov. Monumental and fresh coloring, although the small space of the chapel, the painting is presentable and inspires the viewer solemnity of the situation. Particularly impressive are the figures of the saints standing up in life-size, dressed in shining garments bishop.Among them are the images of prominent Bulgarian clergy Ivan Rilski, Theodosius, Evtimii, Hilarion Muglensky. Above the entrance of the chapel was painted a portrait of the brothers Horozovi. In the courtyard, where Theodosius Horozov is burried, in 1865 was built another chapel, the walls of which are also painted with frescoes.
   During the Bulgarian Revival Kapinovo monastery developed as a center of Bulgarian literature and education. Here in 1794 was resident Stojko Vladislavov Kotel, the future Bishop Sophronius of Vratsa. With himself he brought a copy of "Istoria Slavianobylgarska" and the monks were reading and studying with patriotic passion. For a short time Vladislavov Stojko was abbot of the monastery, waiting until he was elected Bishop of Vratsa.
   At the time of Abbot Naphtali in 1830 in Kapinovo monastery was opened a school of grammarians and priests, associated with the revolutionary struggles. Even Horozova brothers turned it into one of the revolutionary nests in Turnovo region, which hosted many of the participants in popular revolts and uprisings.Here the plotters of Velchova Conspiracy against the Ottoman Empire met repeatedly.

Plakovski Monastery
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One of the biggest and most famous monasteries in the region Plakovski Tarnovo is "St Iliya ", erected in the forests and mountain ridges of the Balkan Mountains. According to a legend, once near here King Ivan Asen II built a large monastery. When at the end of the XIV century Turks conquered Bulgarian lands, it was destroyed to the ground.The remains of the old church called "Balakliy" today still rises near the forest. When it appeared on its present-day place Plakovski monastery is not known, but according to certain written notes at the end of the XIV century is had already existed. Since that time is preserved an OKTOECHOS, written in the monastery in 1595 According to a later commemorative inscription old monastery church, which today does not exist, was renovated in 1643 In the monastery screed was mentioned about the renovation and in 1700 with donations and support from the local population the renovation was made.
   The last renovation of the Plakovski monastery was committed in the first half of the XIX century when Kolyu Fitcheto built the existing monastery church. By their construction plan and architectural form it is also a rare phenomenon for the Bulgarian architecture.It was built in so called. "Athos type" churches, which appeared in the Bulgarian lands at the end of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. They have remained in Tran, Poganovo Mrachkiya and monasteries. Oblong nave, a spacious building with a large conical dome on a cylindrical drum Plakovski monastery church has a monumental view.Its three equal semi-cylindrical apse and a high open narthex on the west side with massive cylindrical columns, capitals and arches create significant diversity and dynamics of the external shape of the church and creates a frieze of small decorative blind arches that surround the walls below the main cornice.Its three equal semi-cylindrical apses and a high open narthex on the west side with massive cylindrical columns, capitals and arches create significant diversity and dynamics of the external shape of the church.
  The only mural painting in Plakovski monastery church painted above the entrance door from the outside of the west wall of the church and depicting the ascension of the prophet Iliya, was painted by an unknown artist in 1852 by means of Gabrovo fur guild at the time of Abbot Sophronius. However, at that time were built the buildings of the monastery.At the bottom of the bell tower builders have left a saying "Masters Krystju, Apostle, Christou, 1850," but up to the bell tower itself - embossed "1856 x. Sophronius. "The West Wing was built in 1866 back to the abbot of x. Sophronius.
  In the church of the monastery are kept many large and small icons, most of which were painted by the artist Zachary Zograph Samokov and valuable works of the old Bulgarian art.
   During the early years of the Bulgarian Revival Plakovski monastery was an important spiritual centre and developed a lively literary and educational activities. Unfortunately, numerous manuscripts and printed books of the monastery were later destroyed by burning by Kurdzhalii. Particularly severe damage to the cultural heritage of the monastery caused Phanariots Joseph appointed by the metropolitan bishop of abbot of the monastery in the late XVIII century.
  Plakovski monastery actively participated in the national liberation struggle. In the first half of XIX century when abbot became Father Sergius, rebel before in Elena, also associate the friend of Captain George Mamarchev, the monastery became a center of Velchova Conspiracy (1835). After revealing the conspiracy, the monastery was destroyed again by the Turks.

Map of temples in Elena

Kapinovski monastery: