Klisura Monastery St. Petka
St. Petka Paraskeva
Besides the more popular Klisura monastery in the Balkan mountain, there is another monastery carrying the same name, called after the nearby village of Klisura. The latter lies in the outskirts of Sofia, just a few km away from the town of Bankya.
The Klisura monastery St Petka was originally built on an old road that connected Sofia to the village of Breznik. The first church is believed to have been erected more than 300 years ago, though in 1954, it collapsed under the burden of its years. A new church was built in its place by Mother Superior Maria Magdalene (1896-1978) and still functions there. Little else is known about the place. Yet one cannot help gasping at the marvelous wall-paintings with quotes from the Bible, seen on all sides. Indeed, colourful frescoes with citations are painted on the outside walls of the church, the residential buildings, the gates and the surrounding wall, strengthening the impression of spirituality and sanctity, which emanates from the entire place. Obviously, all of the external paintings have been made in recent years (some were still being finished at the time we were there – the summer of 2004), but this does not reduce their value in any way. In fact, these stand out even brighter against the old, low buildings of the residential part, some of which obviously made of adobe (sun-burnt bricks).
Neither food nor accommodation is offered here; yet the nearby holiday town of Bankya, famous for its curable mineral waters, has plenty of hotels, rest houses, and private flats. Good restaurants and fast food places also abound there.
Setting off from Sofia, one first needs to reach Bankya (to the west). From the centre of Bankya, a good asphalt road continues up to the gates of the monastery. It is recommended to ask local people, as signs are nowhere to be seen.