The Seslavtsi monastery “St Nikolay Mirikliiski” is situated above the village of Seslavtsi, some 21km to the east of Sofia. The village is easy to reach by following the signs to Kremikovtsi. The monastery, of which the church is the only remaining building, lies in the southern slopes of the Western Balkan mountain.
According to a legend, the boyar Seslav stood behind the establishment of the monastery in the end of the 16th c. The boyar possessed a fortress close to the monastery that was destroyed later on. The emergence of the monastery coincided with a period of prosperity for the Ottoman Empire during which the Turkish authorities extended certain freedoms to the local Christian population, and allowed the construction of some churches and monasteries. During the 50es and 60es of the 20th c. when the Buhovo mines started to be exploited, the monastery was abandoned and forgotten while access to it was banned. At present, the only remaining building of the monastery is its church, which represents the biggest church building in the so-called Sofia Sveta Gora area. It was built in tune with the architectural tradition in Bulgaria’s lands during the 16-17th c. and is a single-nave, single-apse building with a narthex, spacious interior, rich wall decorations and smooth, clear facades. The biggest treasury of the Seslavtsi monastery is its marvelous frescoes that have survived until present day. Scholars have uncovered three layers of frescoes, with best preserved being the one painted in 1616 by the renowned Bulgarian painter and man of letters, hieromonk Pimen Zografski, who was canonised as a saint after his death. St. Pimen Zografski took part in the wall-painting of the Hilandar (also spelled Chilandari) monastery in the Greek Athos. Currently (spring 2007), the church is closed for restoration works. Visitors to the monastery are often impressed by large men-made sand-bars around it. The sand was poured there in order to protect the church from falling into one of mining excavations that comes close to its foundations.
Neither food nor accommodation are offered.
The monastery is reached by driving down an asphalt road that starts from the village of Seslavtsi, and then taking a dirty off-road for about a kilometer more up in the mountain. We would recommend that visitors ask local people for the right way as the large number of dirty offroads above the village make it hard to find the monastery.