Sv. Archangel Michael
The Bilintsi monastery “St. Archangel Michail” is located some 16km. to the northwest of the town of Breznik, Pernik district. It is situated at the foot of the Tsruncha ridge of the small Zaval Mountain, about a kilometer to the northeast of the village of Bilintsi.
The monastery was established in the 14th c. and was rebuilt in 1855. At present it is operational and open to visitors. During our visit in mid-2008, the monastery complex was inhabited by a monk and a girl that helped in maintaining the buildings. The inhabitants of the monastery live in extremely simple conditions, supplying themselves with water from a nearby creek. The monastery is not supplied with electricity either. The “St. Archangel Michail” monastery complex consists of a church, residential and farm buildings. It is built over a slope, with the four monastery buildings situated in accordance with the four cardinal directions and enclosing a rectangular yard. The monastery church has been erected over a lower terrace of the terrain, and its eastern part is largely hidden beneath the surface. The church, having the dimensions of 13.2 to 3.9 to 4.25m., is one-nave, one-apse building with no dome. Its narthex is connected with the central part, while a single entrance can be found to the north. At first the church had been half the size of the present building, which is evidenced by the chinks in the points wherefrom construction continued. Both the construction of the building and its frescoes has been done in two stages. While the wall paintings in the eastern part of the church are primitive, with shortened and disproportional figures, the frescoes in the western part are true masterpieces. The church preserves valuable wall paintings from the 17th c. The residential building is also of interest, even if at present it is rather dilapidated and in need of repair works. Due to the slope, over which the monastery was built, the residential building is largely dug beneath the ground. Its eastern part is a one-storey building, while the western part has three floors. The first two floors have been built of thick stone masonry and are used as storerooms. The monks’ cells can be found on the third floor. A large wooden terrace passes through the entire western terrace of the upper floor, giving access to the cells. In the 17th and 18th c. the monastery had significant cultural influence and connections with Russians and Greek monasteries, while at the end of the 18th century it hosted a monastery school.
Neither food, nor accommodation is offered.
The monastery can be reached down a dirty road that starts from the village of Bilintsi. The second part of the road is hard to pass for a car, however, but it passes through a beautiful forest and is nice for a short walk.