Rila Monastery - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery

The biggest and most famous of Bulgaria's monasteries is situated in the northwestern part of the Rila Mountains and is one of the most significant monuments on the Balkan Peninsula. Rila Monastery was founded by a hermit, St John of Rila, in the 10th century, and eventually became a monastic complex that played an important role in the spiritual history of medieval Bulgaria. Having survived fire, abandonment and plunder, the monastery fascinates visitors today with its exquisite architecture, rich murals and icons and valuable museum collection, including old manuscripts, jewellery, textiles, church treasures and a library containing thousands of books. Photography is not allowed inside the Monastery.

Information & Facts

Bulgarian is the official language, which uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but English, German and French is spoken in resorts, hotels and restaurants.

The official currency is the Lev (BGN), which is divided into 100 stotinki. The Lev is tied to the Euro at a fixed rate of EUR1 = 1.955 lev. Bulgaria has strict currency regulations. If you enter Bulgaria with cash of any currency amounting to the equivalent of 8,000 leva or more, you must declare it to customs officials. Foreign currency may be exchanged in banks, hotels or at one of the numerous bureaux de change, however due to a common practice of misleading rates of exchange it is better to go to banks or hotels to change money. A receipt called a bordereauxis issued when exchanging currency, indicating the amount that will be given, and it must be kept until departure. Not all banks accept travellers cheques and those that do usually charge a 5% commission. Major international credit cards are increasingly becoming accepted by tourist hotels, upmarket shops and restaurants, travel agents and car rental agents, but Bulgaria is still largely a cash economy. There are ATMs in the main cities and at Black Sea resorts.

Opening Times
Gates are open daily from dawn to dusk, but some sights within the monastery complex have shorter opening hours. Services are from 7 or 8am, and 4 or 5pm, depending on the time of year
Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
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