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Travel advice Eastern Europe

© 2013-2019

RAZBOISHTE MONASTERY

Разбоишки манастир

In general, Western Bulgaria sees few tourists. Apart from, obviously, the capital Sofia, the Rila monastery and the town Melnik. There's so much more to see. I share these places with you. I live in Bulgaria for three years at the point of writing this article. And, I found out about this monastery only this year. I travel almost every weekend yet had never heard of this place. I'm talking about Razboishte monastery, west of the town of Godech. A truly beautiful place. Compared to most areas of Bulgaria, this region feels truly wild. There's not many people living here and nature is all around. Small villages on the hillsides and in valleys. Many monasteries and small churches. Some of which are abandoned. Then there are some steep mountains around, such as right north of Godech or in the Dragoman area. You can have yourself a nice trip here.

Best is to come to Razboishte monastery by car. Then you can get there either from the west, through Kalotina, or east through Godech. If you come from Godech, you'll have a steep climb downhill before you arrive. However, you can combine your visit with the Kotlite waterfall and Bukorovski monastery. From Kalotina, you get a nice and unexpectedly rugged landscape and you pass several villages such as Berende izvor. Then a few hundred metres from Razboishte monastery is the Sveta Petka monastery, which surely should be visited as well.

You can definitely visit all sights mentioned above, but if your time is limited, pick the west or east approach and choose what to see. From both roads, the last parts are unpaved and might be hard to travel by car. Especially in bad weather conditions. If, for some reason, you must reach the monastery all the way by car, pick the road through Kalotina.

The Razboishte monastery is Bulgarian Orthodox. It's in the Nishava river gorge, the monastery is actually right on the river banks. The place dates back as far as the 4th Century. In the beginning, there were only rock-hewn churches. Over the course of time, the complex expanded from the rocks to structures outside of them and even on the other side of the river. The Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski stayed at the place several times. He was hiding from the Ottomans. During the Ottoman era, the monastery complex was destructed by them repeatedly.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the complex was abandoned. Only in 1947, three nuns took an interest in its fate. With the help of local people, renovations were carried out. The last of the nuns died in 2007. Now there is nobody. When I visited, I met the fantastic Mihail Mihailov carrying out renovations. He doesn't live in the place but does carry out all current renovations. He took an interest in my work and took the time to guide me around the complex. Truly fascinating. He showed me so many artefacts that are hundreds of years old - he knew all about the history of this place. The video of my visit (in Bulgarian) is right below. Then, at the bottom of this page, you may find the pictures of the complex. Enjoy!

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