The Vladaya monastery “St Petka” is located above the railway station of the Vladaya quarter of Sofia, opposite Vladaya and across the main road that connects Sofia and the town of Pernik. It lies in the southern slope of the Lyulin Mountain and overlooks the Vladaya defile – the southwestern entrance to the capital city.
According to a legend, the monastery was first built in the 10th c. Thereafter, it was repeatedly destroyed and reconstructed. It is known that in 1328, the monastery was ruined by crusaders, while all its monks were killed. Before they were murdered, the monks placed a stone cross and buried the New Testament and two icons, of St Petka and of St Nedelya (as the monastery has two altars, dedicated to the two saints), beneath it. The last king of the Second Bulgarian state, Ivan Shishman, often stopped by “St Petka” on his way to the Rila Monastery and gifted it generously. Later on, during the Ottoman rule of Bulgarian lands, the monastery had an underground church. According to preserved documents, the monastery also served as a meeting place of “hayduts” (Bulgarian rebels against the Turkish rule), who enjoyed taking a rest beneath the shadows of its oaks. Ten oaks, believed to be several hundred years of age, can still be seen in the yard of the monastery. The present-day “St. Petka” church was reconstructed in 1902 over the ruins of an old church. Besides, the monastery complex includes a chapel and a new church dedicated to St Nedelya. The monastery also has stone columns-chandeliers produced in 1911 and donated by pilgrims from the village of Lukovo (Debur region in present-day Serbia). The residential buildings are modest and were erected in several stages. During the construction of the main road from Sofia to Pernik, military brigades tasked with construction works, were accommodated at the monastery. The soldiers not only did no harm to the monastery or its nuns, as it happened with other monasteries that temporarily sheltered military staff, but helped with its preservation. The monastery’ official holiday is celebrated on the 14th of October (27th according to the old Orthodox calendar that is still used in Russia for instance). At present, the monastery is operational and run as a nunnery.
Neither food, nor accommodation are offered.
The monastery can be reached either on foot from the quarter of Vladaya, or by car. If one travels by car, he/she needs not to turn left to Vladaya from the main road that connects Sofia and Pernik, but instead take a right-hand asphalt offroad just across the Vladaya quarter. This offroad first passes by several villas and cottages and then, in no more than 1km away from the main road, leads straight to the gates of the monastery.