The Divotino monastery “Holy Trinity” is one of the oldest and best-preserved cloisters in the Sofia region. At present, it functions as a monk brotherhood. The monastery lies in the northern slopes of the Lyulin Mountain, about 10km away from the village of Divotino and 4km to the southwest of the Michailovo quarter of the town of Bankya. The place is exceptionally picturesque and wild, while the monastery is surrounded by wooded hills and two brooks that cross by its walls.
According to the legend for the establishment of the Divotino monastery, the cloister was build by a man and his wife, who found a pot with gold pieces while ploughing their land. The couple decided to invest the fortune in the construction of a monastery and uploaded the pot on a donkey’s back, saying that they would build the monastery in the place where the donkey fell and died. The donkey died of exhaustion between two currents, and construction started in 1046, exactly 100 years after the death of St Ivan of Rila. The area where the pot was found is still known as “The Fortune”. Not much has remained of the old monastery, however, save for small wooden part of the iconostasis and three wall-painted icons. During the plunders of the so-called bands of Kurdzhalii towards the end of 1806, the monastery was not saved and its herds of sheep, cows, horses and buffaloes were stolen. According to a legend, however, the chief of the Kurzhalii, Hassan Hodzha, who led the stolen cattle, was killed by a thunder. His scared men buried him and ran away, leaving behind the plundered animals. The place, where Hassan Hodzha was buried according to the legend is still known as “Hodzha’s Grave”. The monastery is popularly known among local people as the Tsar’s Monastery, because of the frequent visits of Tsar Ferdinand there during his rule. It is also told that Tsar Ferdinand donated two carriages to the then-Mother Superior of the Divotino monastery, Claudia. One of the carriages was used for representative purposes, while the other one served for overseeing the vast real estate properties of the monastery. Similarly to many other monasteries, the Divotino cloister also maintained a small monastery school and supported the national struggle for liberation, including by sheltering the famous revolutionary Vassil Levski. The present-day church and monastery buildings were built in 1902, after the complex had been set on fire for three times in a row during the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria. The church was constructed after the Athos architectural style, and represents a small, one-nave, cross-shaped building. The yard of the monastery is not large, but is rather hospitable with its beautiful fountain, several fruit trees, a wooden table with benches ands a shadowed shelter just in front of the church. The church holiday is marked every year on the 50th day after Easter. On that day, the monks throw walnut leaves out of the altar’s gates towards the worshipers, as the leaves remind of the tongues of flame, which embodied the Holy Spirit during his appearance before Christ’s apostles 50 days after Resurrection.
Neither food, nor accommodation are offered.
The monastery is rather hard to find, as there are no signs while the ultimate road that leads to it is a dirty one. After one drives to the town of Bankya, he/she needs to drive to the quarter of Michailovo, and then take an asphalt road to the right just before Michailovo is entered. From that turn it takes about a kilometer before one needs to take a dirty road to the left that leads straight to the monastery after 2-3km. The dirty road does not require an off-road vehicle.