St Prophet Iliya
The Plakovo monastery, named after St Prophet Iliya, is to be found close to the village of Plakovo, about 18km to the south of Veliko Turnovo. Because of the proximity between the Plakovo and the Kapinovo cloisters (the distance between being just 2km), the two are often nicknamed as twin-monasteries.
The Plakovo monastery was founded during the times of the Second Bulgarian State, and similarly to most other monasteries dating back to this period, it was destroyed with the subjection of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule. It was not reconstructed before 1450, but only to be repeatedly set on fire and raided afterwards. In 1835, the monastery hosted the famous Velcho’s Plot, with one of the leaders of anti-Ottoman plot being the ex-abbot of the monastery, Father Sergey. Following the Turks’ suppression of the plot, the monastery was again ruined. At present, the monastery complex consists of a church, residential and farm buildings. The present-day church was rebuilt in 1845 and is a rare representative of the Bulgarian orthodox architecture of the so-called Athos type, typical of the Second Bulgarian State. The oblong church has a single nave, three high apses and six massive cylindrical columns with capitals. The western part is an open narthex. Above the entrance and below the open narthex one can see the only fresco with scripts from the church-donors. The church keeps a valuable icon of Jesus Christ and the 12 Apostles, painted by Zahari Zograf (1845). This is not the only icon of Zahari Zograf that the monastery shelters. In addition, it also preserves old manuscripts and religious books. The residential buildings as well as the majestic 26-meter belltower, rising above the western residential building of the monastery, represent other sights of visitors’ interest. Both were built by a famous local master, Kolyo Ficheto (1856). The monastery, which is functioning as an orthodox cloister, is declared a monument of national culture.
Food and accommodation are not offered to visitors. Yet, similarly to other monasteries in the region, the proximity to Veliko Turnovo, where one can find a rich choice of restaurants and hotels, solves this problem.
The southern road going out of Veliko Turnovo has an offroad to the Plakovo monastery at the town of Kilifarevo. The village of Plakovo lies about 5km away from there, while the very monastery is 2km further down the road from the village.
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