Monastery St. Kirik and Julita in Jelen

The monastery is located in a picturesque area on the right bank of the river Iskar between Svoge and village of Jelen, nestled in the mountainside, named by locals "Babin Plaz".

No written records about the time of foundation of the monastery but according to the legends this should happen before the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule. It is known that in ancient times, the monastery has owned a lot of properties: fields, meadows, pasture and even a lake nearby. Upon the arrival of the Turks the monastery was destroyed and its properties seized and turned into waqf. В края на XVIII и началото на XIX век манастирът се възражда.At the end of the 18 and beginning of 19 century the monastery revived. Around the same time, however, it was again ravaged by the hordes of Osman Pazvantoglu. According to the legend only one monk succeeded to escaped but unfortunately the pursuers found his hat that guide them after him. Exhausted and hungry, he was apprehended by the brigand somewhere between Batulya and Kurilo and slain on the spot.

On the lawn where now is placed a votive cross, there was a fountain with a stone trough and around it is held religious festival twice a year: on "St. Forty Martyrs "(March 9) and "St. Kirik and Julita (28 July). They were a tradition to be slaughtered 5-7 rams and to make a sacrificial rite. ТThe tradition is preserved till now as of July 28 here is organized a big sacrificial rite.

Today from the monastery church are preserved only the north side and part of the foundations of the western and southern walls. Almost the same was the situation in 1924, when the teacher from Svoge D. Izhchiev has visited the monastery and describe it. The dimensions of the built of bricks and stones wall are: height 2.50 m, length 3.50 m and thickness 0.75 m. In 1924 were reserved significant fragments of wall paintings - images of saints, among which stand out this of St. Michael the Archangel, and that in two places - in the middle of the wall and to the right. The depiction in the middle had had a length of 75 cm and above it were situated smaller images of other saints surrounded by Old Slavonic inscriptions which were illegible. On the right side of the wall had had an another smaller depiction of St. Michael the Archangel with inscription. On the left of it there is a recess which currently stays. Perhaps this is the washing stand.

Unfortunately, today from the described murals are remained only negligible parts - the upper part of the image of St. Michael the Archangel with the Saints (only their halos) and part of the decoration of the pilasters at the left side of the wall.

Sources: Свети места; Panoramio by Niki Zarkov

Monastery St. Kirik and Julita in Jelen

DD 42.97850986, 23.36658724

N 42° 58' 42.635'' E 23° 21' 59.714''

The monastery is reached from the main road in Svoge from where at the sign to Jelen must turn right. The route goes along Svoge monastery and crosses the river Iskar. After the bridge it turns left. Continue along the road and at the first houses after the sign for Jelen turns left following a dirt road which leads to the locality "Kirik". In the same area there is a memorial cross and fountain. The ruins of the monastery are reached by a small path around the fountain - it crosses a small stream and it goes to a cliff on the opposite slope.