St Virgin Mary
The Eleshnitsa monastery “St Virgin May” is situated just above the village of Eleshnitsa (named Yordankino up to 1991), a few kilometers to the east of Sofia. It lies in the valley of the Yakovishtitsa river in the Western part of the Balkan mountain, 4km to the northeast of the village.
The monastery was established in 1499. In the 16th-17th century it represented an important cultural and religious centre with some of its religious books from that period currently being kept at the National Museum of Church History and Archeology. The Eleshnitsa monastery was destroyed by Kurdzhalii bands in 1793. It was rebuilt in 1820 and is currently operational, even if no monks or nuns live there. The complex consists of a church, residential and farm buildings. The residential and farm buildings are currently (February 2007) in a rather poor condition, but the church has been recently renovated. The church represents a small single-nave, single-apse construction that still preserves some valuable frescoes. It was built in the 16th century, with the earliest of its wall-paintings dating back to the same century. The latest frescoes are from 1864. It is because of the frescoes that the monastery is declared a monument of culture and is guarded by a private security firm the officers of which can be seen around. The monastery is often used by people from neighboring villages as a picnic and BBQ place, especially during weekends.
The monastery is reached easily from the village of Eleshnitsa. One should first take the old main road to Varna, and then turn left a few meters after the monument of Yordanka Chankova. Then an asphalt road in a relatively good state leads straight to the gates of the monastery.
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