St. John the Baptist
The Zelenikovets monastery “St. John the Baptist” is situated in the Zelenikovets area of the Troyan part of the Balkan Mountain, about 8km to the southeast of the Troyan monastery and some 5km to the south of the Cherni Osam village. The monastery reveals a marvelous view to the Golyam Kupen and Ambaritsa peaks.
The Zelenikovets monastery was established in 1832 by the then-father of the Troyan monastery Partenii. Unfortunately, it was set on fire shortly after its foundation. During the April Uprising (1976), Turkish troops destroyed it in search of Philip Totyu’s band of rebels, who used to hide in the surrounding area. In 1913, the monastery was restored, while in 1914 the new church was consecrated. The iconostasis of the church, made by a representative of the famous Debur school of arts, Philip the Macedonian, is of particular interest to visitors. The monastery complex consists of a church and several residential and farming buildings, the oldest of which is a residential one built in 1872. The church represents a three-nave, one-apse and one-dome pseudo-basilica with an open narthex and a bell-tower above it. The monastery has never enjoyed electricity or water supplies. At present it is inhabited only by an old woman, who has spent more than 20 years here in care of the monastery.
Visitors can be put up for the night in simple conditions that are more than compensated by the incredible beauty and peace of the place.
The Zelenikovets monastery cannot be reached by car. After the area became a water-supply basin for several towns and villages in the region, the dirty road to a nearby mountain hut, “Yavorov’s Luka”, was included within the area’s boundaries and its usage was forbidden. Thus, the monastery was deprived of a nearby road, too. Currently, the Zelenikovets monastery can be reached after one sets off from the village of Cherni Osum near the town of Troyan and follows the road to the mountain. 3-4km after the village one reaches a hydropower station, named “Cherni Osam” (the station can be reached by car). A well-signed path starts just behind a blue shed on the other side of the road across the hydropower station that can be taken in about 2 hours and a half. The path is rather steep for the first 30 minutes. Then it passes by a spring fountain where one can take a rest and reaches a village quarter of several houses, named Glushka. From there, the path crosses the so-called Leshnishki Dol area, climbs to its highest point and then descends to the Zelenikovets monastery.