St. Teodor Tiron
The St Theodor Tiron monastery is located about 2-3km away from the town of Pravets, following the road to Etropole. It lies in the Etropole part of the Balkan mountain, and is naturally bounded by the relatively low Bilo mountain to the South and the defile of the Vitomeritsa river to the north.
It is believed that the Pravets monastery has its origin back in ancient times, when the place was occupied by a Thracian sanctuary. During the rule of the Assen and Peter brothers, it was transformed into a Christian cloister. During more or less its entire existence, the monastery has remained in the shadow of the nearby Etropole monastery, located about 10km away from it. There are no historical records of St Theodor Tiron regarding its existence during the early Ottoman rule. It is only known that during the so-called raids of rebel groups, named Kurdzhalii, in the 18th century, the monastery was entirely destroyed – only to be rebuilt shortly afterwards. Close to the present-day church, once there used to lie a chapel. At present, there is no trace to be found of this chapel, even if the place remains of interest to treasure-hunters. The monastery complex consists of two buildings – a church and a residential part. The church is entirely made of stone and brick layers, and represents a massive building. The iconostasis was created by painters from the famous Teteven school. The St George’s icon, painted in 1869, is particularly impressive. Regretfully, another icon depicting St Theodor Tiron is almost completely destroyed. Two bas-reliefs with two-headed eagles, placed just above the entrance of the church, are also of interest.
Even if St Theodor and Tiron is a relatively small monastery, it offers food and accommodation. Yet it is better suited for a family holiday than for hosting a big company. The nearby town of Pravets offers a good deal of hotels and nice restaurants. As regards the latter, we would recommend “Praveshka banitsa” – a restaurant with traditional Bulgarian cuisine, placed in a beautifully restored house, dating back to the Bulgarian Renaissance period.
The Pravets monastery is easiest to reach following the Pravets offroad from the Hemus highway and then taking the old mainroad to Varnа. Shortly after reaching the town of Pravets, one arrives at the offroad to Etropole. The direct offroad to the monastery (about 1km down a dirty road) is reached after driving about 2km down the road to Etropole.