Basarbovo (Cut - in – the – rock) monastery

Location: Basarbovo Rocky Monastery is situated in the picturesque valley of Russenski Lom river, close to the village of Basarbovo and 10 km away from the town of Rousse (North-eastern Bulgaria).
Basarbovo Monastery is the only functioning cut-in the rock monastery in Bulgaria, and one of the few inhabited rock monasteries on the Balkans.

At Rusenski Lom river banks and its inflows there are more than 300 caves. Above 40 of which were rocky churches or premises of rocky monastery complexes.

We don’t know the exactly date of their appearance, but the archeological findings show us that the caves near Rusenski Lom river were inhabited in the antiquity in the 4th – 6th centuries. The development of the rocky monasteries had its apogee during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom in the 12th – 14th centuries.

The rocky premises are connected with the names of Teodosi Tarnovski and Joakim – patriarch of the old Bulgarian capital Tarnovo, and the church-donors are tsar Ivan Asen II, Ivan Aleksandar, Georgi Terter and queen Teodora Basarab.

History: There are few suggestions about the etymology of the name of the monastery. The second name of the queen Teodora is Basarab, and the second name of the Romanian leader is also Basarab. He made a donation for the construction of the monastery.
Perhaps, the name came from the Thracian word “basaraba”, that means “fox”.

The earliest historical records for the monastery date back to the 15th century and are found in some Ottoman Empire’s tax registers.

It is not known when the monastery was left without its permanent dwellers during the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria. In 1937 a monk named Hadji Hrisant from the Preobrazhene monastery settled there and started to restore the monastery. After him many other monks took care of the monastery. One of them is Dimitrii Basarabovski, whose name the monastery has.

About the monastery: At present, the Basarbovo rock monastery is well kept and taken good care of.

The monastery has been preserved till present day. The believers enter a beautiful green yard and an alley leads them to a well dug by saint Dimitrii. Two rooms and a cave-refectory built in 1956 are situated at the foot of the rocks. 48 rocky steps lead to a rock landing, where Dimitrii Basarbovki slept, according to legends.
To the right, visitors can see the rock church with a carved wooden iconostasis. Next to it hangs a large icon of the saint at full-length, surrounded by 10 scenes of life with inscriptions in Romanian and Greek.

Another stone steps lead to a natural cave, where monk Hrisant was buried. Later, the cave sheltered the bones of other deceased monks of the monastery.

The guests are welcome to visit a museum exhibition of the monastery.



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