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Bulgaria

Shipka Monastery


Location: In honour of the perished Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers in the Russian – Turkish war of liberation in 1877 – 1878 a large beautiful monastery “Nativity” was built at the foot of Stara Planina mountain above the town of Shipka. The monastery is situated 12 km away from the town of Kazanlak.

History: The monastery was constructed in the period 1885 – 1902 and the land property was granted by local people.
The funds needed for the construction of the monastery were raised from donors mostly in Russia, but also in Bulgaria upon the initiative of Olga Skobeleva, mother of the Russian general Skobelev.
The construction of the monastery was carried out by Russian architects and woodworkers, Italian stone-cutters and local Bulgarian masters.

About the Shipka Monastery: The monastery church “Nativity” is very impressive. It is a real masterpiece of architecture and was declared as a monument of culture. The temple was built in the Russian cathedrals traditional style from 17 century. The golden domes and crosses are shining far from the distance and the versicoloured inlays are like alive.

The monastery complex consists of a church, a monastic building, a shelter and a Seminary.
Next to the church there is 53 m long bell tower with 17 bells. The biggest one weights 12 tons.

Wall-paintings: The church’s walls were painted twice – first in 1902 by G. Mesoedov and A. Mitov, and then again in 1957-1959 by a team of wall-painters, headed by N. Rostovtsev. The wall-paintings depict historical past of Bulgaria and Russia. There are icons of the saint brothers Cyril and Methodius, the creators of the Slavic written language, and paintings of their adherents Naum and Kliment of Ohrid, Savva, Gorazd and Angelari.

St. Mihail Kievski, Theodosius Pecherski and other Russian churchmen, and Bulgarian knyaz Boris І, who Christianized the Bulgarian nation, are painted on the south wall. The famous battle in 1380 of Russian commander Dmitrii Donskoi with the Tatars is depicted on the western wall, and another significant Russian battle in 1240 of Alexander Nevski with the Swedes is depicted upon the south entrance.

Inside the temple the visitors can see 24 marble plates with the names of 18,491 Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who gave their life in battle at Shipka and Kazanlak.

At first, the monastery was Russian property, but in 1934, it was donated by the Soviet government to Bulgaria.


In 1970 the monastery was declared as monument of culture and later it became a part of the Shipka-Buzludzha national park museum.

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