The Sopot monastery “St. Spas” is situated about a kilometer away from the town of Sopot in northern direction, in the skirts of the Balkan mountain.
The exact date of the monastery’s emergence has not reached us. It is believed that the monastery was established in the 13th c. as a successor of another monastery in the Sopot region - the “Holy Trinity” monastery - that disappeared in the 11-12th c. It is also deemed that “St. Spas” used to be a so-called “royal” monastery, meaning that it was granted rights and properties by the Bulgarian king Smilets himself. The official documents testifying to its royal status had been preserved in the monastery until 1870, when they were handed to Nayden Gerov, so that the latter published them. During Ottoman rule the church was repeatedly set on fire and destroyed. Following its restoration in 1870, the church was painted by Georgi Danchev, a close friend and collaborate of the Bulgarian revolutionary Vassil Levski. During the Russian-Turkish War (1877-1878), however, the church was once again ruined. The altar part was the only part to survive, but with the saints’ eyes being stabbed by Turkish bayonets. Following the destruction of Sopot by fire, the yard of the monastery witnessed the slaughter of many running citizens of the town. The church and the fountain of the monastery were once again rebuilt in 1879 by Father Superior Rafail, whose grave can be found just behind the altar. A large bell, produced in the Romanian town of Craiova in 1873 and gifted to the monastery by citizens of Sopot that lived in Romania, can be seen by the southern wall of the church. The monastery used to develop rich literature and revolutionary activities. It was a meeting place for Neofit Rilski and the Koprivshtitsa wealthy man Valko Chalakov, who prepared the opening of schools in the towns of Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa, while in 1828, the Father Superior of the monastery, Pantaleymon, made a copy with corrections of Paisii Hilendarski’s famous “History of Slavic Bulgarians”. Schoolteachers and men of literature issued a satirical paper named “Osten” at the monastery, too. At “St. Spas” Vassil Ivanov from Karlovo (who became known as Vassil Levski) was ordained deacon Ignatii on December 7, 1858, while later on, he used the monastery as one of his many hiding places. In 1875, the revolutionary Todor Kableshkov sworn in here the members of the renewed Sopot revolutionary committee, first established by Vassil Levski.
Neither food, nor accommodation is offered.
The road to the monastery starts as an offroad to the left from the Sub-Balkan Sofia-Bourgas main road, if one travels from Sofia. The offroad is an asphalt one and starts just before one enters the town of Sopot. This road leads not only to the monastery but also to a lift station and a paragliding base. The distance from the Sub-Balkan main road to the monastery is about a kilometer.
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