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Gornobreznishki monastery

Georgi Georgiev, www.VisitBulgaria.NET

On a silent hill, somewhere in the Malashevska Mountains, 5 kilometres away from Kresna, a House of God raises its white bell tower in the middle of the sacred wilderness. The temple is named after Saint Prophet Iliya but it is more popular as Gornobreznishki monastery, because of the nearby village of Gorna Breznitsa.

It was a hot sprig afternoon, in the beginning of April, when my friends and I climbed the winding way to the monastery. The starting point to the monastery is Kresna. The settlement was declared a town in 1978 in honour of 100 anniversary of the Kresnensko-Razlozhko uprising.

The road fork to the monastery is at the entrance of Kresna. The village of Nova Breznitsa is three kilometres after the sign. A cosy chapel is built at the end of the village beside the Breznishka river and imposing plane-trees are raising above the babbling waters. One kilometer long dirt-road takes the visitors from the chapel in the village to the monastery.

It took us about 20 minutes to reach “St. Prophet Iliya” monastery. You can get there by car, but I recommend you to climb the road on food. The scenery is magnificent. The small valley, where Dolna Breznitsa village lies, is in the foreground, the Kresna Gorge is in the middle and the white peaks of the Pirin Mountains are raising in the background.

The white temple spreads on a lush green meadow. A nunnery existed there, centuries ago, but during the Turkish slavery the cloister was burned. People in the region kept the memory for the temple and 1992 the new monastery was built. A small church, bell tower and dwelling premises were constructed. The monastery can shelter up to 5 visitors for the night.

We walked around the precincts of the monastery. The church is built on the highest spot of the hill and the stairs, leading to it was looking like a divine stairway to heaven. The temple is new so the church is not rich decorated yet, but the images of all saints and patron are looking at the visitor from the altar, as he steps in the temple. The bell tower is constructed separately, 100 metres away from the church.

We spend there about 2 hours, basking under the spring sun. The site was so quiet and peaceful, and the songs of the birds and our jabbering were the only sounds that could be heard on this calm hill that day. The trip to the Gornobreznishki monastery was very relaxing and sublimate experience for all of us and probably I will visit it again, next time when I am in the region of the Kresna Gorge.



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