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Bulgaria

Gabrovo - Sokolski Monastery


Location: The The Assumption Sokolski Monastery is situated in Stara Planina Mountain along the upper river valley of Yantra, 12 km away from Gabrovo and 4 km away from the Etara architectural ethnographic reserve. An eco path connects the monastery with the reserve.




History: In 1833 the famous fighter for church independence Joseph Sokolski came back to his home town Gabrovo and with the help of priest Agapius built a small wooden chapel in front of the nearby cave. A small wooden house was built near the church.
One year later people from the local villages made donations and helped for the construction of the big temple that can be seen today. The consecration of the church was carried out in 1834.
According to another hypothesis, there was an operating monastery at that place during the Medieval that was reconstructed by two monks in the 30s of the 19th century.

The Sokolski Monastery became a centre of the education and the liberation movement. During the rebel in 1856 and the April uprising in1876 the monastery was a headquarter. During the Russian – Turkish war of liberation it was a military hospital. There is small museum that keeps some relics from the time of the battles for freedom.

About the monastery: The monastery was a friary until 1959, when the convent in Gabrovo was torn down and nuns moved to Sokolski Monastery. Today the monastery is operating. It is a complex of a church, residential buildings and farm buildings.
A white stoned fountain with 8 spouts, decorated with statues of falcons is rising in the middle of the vast monastery yard, full of flowers and verdancy. It is supposed that the fountain was built by Kolio Fitcheto in 1856.

Icons and wall-paintings: The icons of the Holly Mother and Jesus Christ painted by Zahari Zograf are reserved in the monastery chapel. There is another icon of the Holly Mother with the Son which is believed to be miraculous.

The wall-paintings of the church were made in 1862 by a priest Pavel and his son Nikolay. Later, other masters left painted icons on the walls of the church. The frescoes and the monastery itself are restored.

Surrounding areas:
- 1 hour away from the monastery is situated Etara architectural ethnographic reserve;
- Uzana Mountain Resort in Stara Planina Mountain in the proximity of which the geographical centre of Bulgaria is located. In the resort there are several hotels, chalets and a ski-lift;
- The historical Shipka Pass about 22 km away from the town of Gabrovo.

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