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Unique Rock Churches Open for Tourists

Source: Sofia News Agency (
Published Date: 19 Dec 2004

The rock monastic complex near the village of Ivanovo, which is under the protection of UNESCO, is now open for tourists after staying inaccessible for years because of the poor infrastructure.

Located on almost a cosmic landscape - rock massifs, enveloping the picturesque river valley near the city of Rousse - the Ivanovo rock monasteries date back to the 11-14th century built through digging cells, churches and chapels into the rock.

Talented artists painted them with realistic frescos, exquisite in colour and composition, and turned them into a treasure trove of Bulgarian mediaeval painting.

Three rock churches of 13th century, part of the monastic complex Saint Archangel Michail, have been completely inaccessible until now. The monastery was founded by isihast monks and enjoyed royal protections from kings and patriarchs.

The reconstruction of the Ivanovo rock monastery and the attached infrastructure were financed by EU funds under the PHARE program.