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Monastery of St. Nicholas, Batulya

The Monastery of St. Nicholas is assumed to be founded on the place of an older abbey, existed in the Middle Ages. The complex is located on a picturesque terrace at the foot of a mountain ridge on which is situated an ancient fortress.

The monastery consists of a church with a separate bell tower and a residential building. The church is consecrated in 1911 by the Sofia Metropolitan Parteniy. It was built in the tradition of Bulgarian Revival church architecture – one nave ending with apse. Altar niche, however, is much wider comparing to traditional Renaissance churches and vestibule is designed simply, closely and with gable roof. In 2011, master-ceramist Lyudmila Doichinova donated to the church a Patron icon of St. Nicholas, which now adorns the facade of the building.

The monastery building was built in 1913. On its southern facade stays inscription which says: "During the time of His Beatitude Exarch Joseph I of Bulgarians[1] and His Eminence Metropolitan Sofia Parteniy with handouts of devout Christians, by the powerful hand of a priest Emmanuel Zlatkov was built this inn, June 3, 1913 ". Interesting fact is that since its establishment, this building was designed for "inn", not for monastery cloister.

The building has two floors built again in the traditions of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture. The second floor is surrounded by a spacious wooden porch. At the first floor are situated offices and a large dining room with kitchen. The two western rooms are named after the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Alexander Stamboliyski[2] - "the rooms of Stamboliyski". He used these rooms in the summer of 1920 and was a close friend of the priest Immanuel.

In 1996-1997 in the courtyard is built a stone fountain, funds for which were raised entirely by donations.

The monastery even now possesses the charm and the spirit of the post-liberation Bulgarian society. The monastery building, which was established as an "Inn", continues to be used as a small hotel. Here to visitors can enjoy to the beautiful nature together with a sacred Christian place and the hospitality of the local priest who hosts the monastery.

[1] Joseph I (1840-1915) was a Bulgarian Exarch from 1877 to the end of his life. Its headquarters was in Constantinople (modern Istanbul). Exarch Joseph I aim to unite the Bulgarian nation under the wing of the Bulgarian Exarchate. Until the Balkan War (1912) the Bulgarian Exarchate includes 7 parishes in Bulgaria, 8 in Macedonia and 1 in Adrianople. His personal contribution was the opening of Bulgarian Seminary (special secondary school for training priests) in Istanbul. Under his guidance were built many churches, he helped for the education of Bulgarian priests and sent many talented young people to study abroad. In 1902 Exarch Joseph was elected as honorary member of the Bulgarian Literary Society (from 1911 - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences). After the Balkan War he moved the seat of the Exarchate form Istanbul to Sofia.
[2]Alexander Stamboliyski (1879-1923) was the leader of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union and Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 1919 to 1923. With his name is associated construction of the railway bridge at Station Rebrovo in 1921-1922.

Monastery of St. Nicholas, Batulya

DD 42.8992694 23.429255555555557

DMS N 42° 53' 57.37'' E 23° 25' 45.32''

Distance: 4,44 км

Maximum slope: 42,8%, -35,3%

Altitude: 497, 541, 622 м

GPS track: Rebrovo - Monastery of St. Nicholas, Batulya

See the hiking trail Rebrovo - rest house "Bukovets" - rest house "Leskova"

The monastery is possible to reach by car following the deviation from the main road E16 (Sofia - Svoge) to the village of Batulya. At the eastern part of the village an information board "Batuliyski monastery" points direction.

Access to the monastery is possible also on food. From Sofia to Rebrovo travels comfortable train. From Rebrovo the visitor should follow the direction of the main road E16 and the deviation to the village of Batulya. From here the route goes along the right bank of the river Batuliyska with panoramic views and very slight slope. Its length is less than 3 km and in the village are many restaurants and cafes suitable for a short break before the climb to the monastery.

The road to the monastery, which begins immediately after the village, is covered with gravel and wide. There is only one branch where you have to take left. The slope is quite large, but the road is not long and ends in the courtyard of the monastery "St. Nicholas."

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Copyright © SVOGE Heritage Program
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