St. St. Cyril and Methodius
The Klisura monastery stands out in a picturesque place in the western part of the Balkan mountain, at the foot of the Todorini Kukli peak and close to the holiday town of Vurshets.
The Klisura monastery dates back to the time of the Second Bulgarian State. It was built in 1240, but during the Ottoman rule, it was repeatedly raided and destroyed. In 1862, on the very holiday of St St Cyril and Methodius, the cloister was burnt to ashes while all monks and pilgrims were slaughtered by a Turkish pasha, Yusuf Bey Pasha from the town of Berkovitsa, and his soldiers. The monastery was reconstructed in a design similar to its present-day Renaissance one in 1869 by its first donor, archimandrite Antim Damyanov while the church, St St Cyril and Metodii, was officially consecrated in 1891 by Vidin’s metropolitan bishop. In 1937 the church was painted by two renowned Bulgarian artists, Gospodin Zhelyazkov and prof. Georgi Bogdanov. The iconostasis is a true work of art in the Bulgarian Renaissance spirit of the Samokov and Debur schools. The icons in the old shrine were painted in the 18th - 19th c. and most of them were made by the hand of Nikola Obrazopisov. А new, but significantly smaller church, named St Nikola, was built a few years ago. Apart from the two churches, the complex includes also 3 spacious residential buildings, a big farmyard and a kitchen, which surround the well-kept inner yard. In 2000, a so-called ‘live water’, coming from the Todorini Kukli mountain peak, was found in the holy spring of the monastery. The spring water has a low mineral content is considered to be curative.
The Klisura monastery offers perfect conditions for a peaceful holiday. It has 80 beds and two apartments, the prices being 8 levs per bed in a room and 10 levs per bed in an apartment (in the spring of 2004). All rooms have their own bathrooms. The restaurant of the monastery offers traditional Bulgarian meals cooked with products of the monastery’s farm. In addition to food and accommodation, the monastery’s staff also offer mountain hiking, horse riding, and folklore performances (including the baking of ritual bread).
If one sets off from Sofia, the Klisura monastery is easiest to reach down the road to the town of Montana, which crosses the Petrohan pass in the Balkan mountain. About 3km after one passes through the town of Burziya, he/she needs to take the road to thw town of Vurshets. Some 5km down this road one reaches to the offroad leading to the gates of the monastery. The entire way is asphalt and signed.