Reverend Petka of Bulgaria
The Koprivets monastery, named ‘Reverend Petka of Bulgaria’ lies just outside the village of Koprivets. The village itself is located 16km away from the town of Byala and 34km to the northwest of the town of Popovo. It is relatively close to the main road connecting Sofia and Varna and the visit of the monastery could be a nice stop on the way to the seaside.
It is believed that the monastery’s existence dates back to the Second Bulgarian State. At that time, the monastery was the largest cloister in the area surrounding the old town of Cherven, with more than 100 nuns living permanently in its premises. Similarly to most monasteries on Bulgarian territory of that time, the Koprivets monastery was not saved by the Ottoman invasion. The troops of Midhad Pasha raided the area of Cherven in the year 1388, setting on fire the town, monasteries and villages in the area. According to the legend, 5 nuns (Paraskeva, Varvara, Ekaterina, Marina and Nedelya), who stayed at the monastery at the time of the invasion died in the fire. The monastery was rebuilt in 1987-1989 secretly from the communist regime upon the initiative of a local woman, Yordana Cholakova, who saw God in her dream, urging her to restore the monastery within 3 years in its original place. And so it happened. The monastery was consecrated on October 14, 1989, just a couple of weeks before the fall of communism. Mother Varvara together with the monastery’s nuns has warmly welcomed pilgrims ever since.
After a visit to the monastery, one can take a rest at the restaurant of ‘Pri Snezha i Daskalov’ and enjoy the taste of traditional Bulgarian cuisine. The nearby town of Veliko Turnovo (some 40km away) probably offers the biggest choice of accommodation in the surrounding area, ranging from luxurious hotels to budget options.
The easiest way to reach Koprivets is by following the main road from Sofia to Varna and then taking the northern road to the town of Byala from Veliko Turnovo. Once in Byala, one needs to ride another 16km to the village of Koprivets.