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Rozhen Monastery “Nativity of the Virgin”

Melnik, Sandanski & South-western Bulgaria

Rozhen Monastery, situated far to the south in the Pirin area, 6km from Melnik is the only monastery restored during the first centuries of Ottoman rule which has survived to this days.

The present – day appearance of this old monastery dates back to 16th century. According to one inscription, the image of Christ Pantocrator together with the 12 apostles above the entrance gate of the Holy Virgin main church, was painted in 1597.

Rozhen Monastery owes its fame above all to its carved iconostases and lecterns. Some of them are extremely complicated compositions, both in intent and in actual execution, in which Biblical themes have given full power to the boundless imagination of the talented masters.

The miraculous icon

The miraculous icon of Virgin Mary is one of the monastery treasures. There is a legend that a widow from Nikea has thrown the icon into the sea to save it from Teofil the Byzantine emperor. The icon has floated many years to the Greek shore. In 999 it has reached the gates of the Iviron monastery with an aureole of light.

A unique work of the calligraphic school, which existed here as early as in the 14th century, is the manuscript Interpretation of Jonah taken in 1674 from the Costantinople Patriarch Dositheusm and kept today in the Holy Grave Church in Jerusalem.

Find out more about Rozhen Monastery at BulgariaMonasteries.Com


There is a regular bus line coming from Sandanski to the village of Rozhen.
One can also reach Melnik by road in a 1 to 1.30 hours walk along a marked footpath through the Melnik Pyramids.
One can get accommodation in the Monastery and there are several taverns in the village of Rozhen, offering traditional local cuisine and homemade Melnik wine.

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