The Shroud of God's Mother
The Svishtov monastery, named “Virgin Mary’s Winding Sheet”, is located in a charming grove, about 5km away from the Danube town of Svishtov.
The monastery does not have a rich history, or at least the latter has not reached us. It is known to have been constructed during the Ottoman rule, though it was ruined completely later on. In its present-day look, the cloister dates back to the end of the previous century. It is currently not functioning as a true monastery, as there are neither monks nor nuns living there. At the time of our visit in the spring of 2004, just two women took care of the monastery’s buildings and a small farm. The complex is a relatively big one, and consists of two residential buildings and another one for the livestock. We were left with the impression that the main goal of the monastery at present is to attract tourists rather than preserve Christian values and spirituality. In spite of this, the tourist inflow is low, most probably because of the fact that almost nothing of its original look has survived to present days. The monastery’s church, named Virgin Mary’s Assumption, imposes with its good-looking façade, though the interior and the icons are not of big interest. The only tangible issue that reminds of the old cloister - a small stone altar - lies in a fenced area in front of the churchyard. A spring, the waters of which are believed to be curative, is to be found just next to the entrance of the monastery.
Due to the limited capacity of the personnel, neither food nor accommodation is offered at the monastery. Yet this may change in the future. The nearby academic town of Svishtov offers a variety of good restaurants and hotels.
The monastery is easy to reach down the road from Svishtov to Veliko Turnovo. A sign placed about 5km away from the town of Svishtov shows the offroad to the monastery - the latter being a dirty one but of acceptable quality (about 1km long).
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