Klisura Monastery of Ss. Cyril and Methodius

Klisura Monastery of Saints Cyril and Methodius is the fourth largest in Bulgaria, located less than 80 kilometers from Sofia. Lying at the foot of Todorini Kukli peaks in Stara Planina, the monastery was also known as Vreshtitsa Monastery, after the name of the river running nearby. To get there, take the road to Montana through Petrohan Pass. Pass the village of Barziya and take the exit for Varshets for another 5 kilometers, and you will see the monastery in front of you. Its history is long and sorrowful. Records of its existence date back to 1240, but like many other Orthodox places, it too was destroyed after Bulgaria’s fall under Ottoman rule. In the 17th century, several monks decided to restore the monastery, which coincided with the outbreak of the Chiprovtsi Uprising in 1688. The rebels took refuge with the monks at the monastery, but they were denounced. Soon after that, the monks were caught and killed, and their bodies were burned not far from the monastery. Legends tell of a holy spring that emerged at the site of the murder and its holy water helped heal many ailing people. In 1742 the monastery was rebuilt with donations from the locals, but not for too long, as in 1862 it was burned by the Turkish troops. It was restored by Archimandrite Anthem, who arrived here at the age of 33 and built a shelter at the old site of the monastery. A Sultan decree was issued for its reconstruction, but the monk was not allowed to collect donations; instead, he could only his own resources. He thus started building and continued in the next three years. In addition to the church, he constructed two-storey buildings for other monks. The church was subsequently painted with icons in the typical Russian Orthodox tradition. Today the monastery is all-female, with a complex consisting of a church, a chapel, dormitories, a large park and a holy spring with healing living water. It has set up a one-of-a-kind iconography studio for Bulgaria, in which the nuns paint wonderful icons in the style of the Ohrid school. Visitors to the monastery can learn more about its history from the church museum, which houses valuable exhibits – photographs, documents, church plate objects, liturgical books, and icons. Today the monastery is in the territory of Vidin Eparchy.

Day 1
Day 1 Osenovlashki monastery – Vratsa – Klisura monastery

Visit to the Osenovlashki Monastery of the Seven Altars

Visit to the Ethnographic complex “Dyado Yotso” (optional)

Lunch in Vratsa

Visit to the Church St. Sopronius and the Ethnographic Museum

Departure to the Klisura Monsastery of Saints Cyril and Methodius and overnight accommodation in the Monastery

Day 2
Day 2 Montana – Drobeta Turnu Severin

Visit to the Lopushanski Monastery

Departure to the Montana

Lunch in Montana

Visit to the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Montana

Visit to the Montana History Museum, The Lapidarium – Open-air archaeological exposition and Castra ad Montanesium fortress, Montana (optional)

Departure to Romania

Dinner and overnight accommodation in Drobeta Turnu Severin

Day 3
Day 3 Orșova – Dubova

Visit to the Mraconia Monastery, the rock-carved bed of the Danube river, sculpture of Decebalus, Dubova cave, boat trip on the Danube

Lunch in Dubova area

Dinner and overnight accommodation it the Monastery of Saint Ana

Day 4
Day 4 – Orșova – Drobeta Turnu Severin

Visit to the Vodița Monastery and the Monastery of St. Ana, Orsova area

Visit to the Medieval Fortress of Severin

Dinner and overnight accommodation in Drobeta Turnu Severin

Day 5
Day 5 – Departure

Pri Stalin Complex 
GPS coordinates: 43.195515 / 43°11’44” N – 23.197184 / 23°11’50” E
Address:  D812, between Spanachevtsi and Yagodovo, Montana

Hotel-Restaurant Kiprovets 
GPS coordinates: 43.383876 / 43°23’2” N – 22.880202 / 22°52’48” E
Address: 14 Ivan Stanislavov”, Chiprovtsi, Montana

SPA Hotel-restaurant ATA

GPS coordinates: 43.186530 / 43°11’11” N – 23.281487 / 23°16’53” E
Address: 1A „Konstantin Penev“, Varshets, Montana

Hotel-restaurant Zhitomir 
GPS coordinates: 43.408911 / 43°24’32” N – 23.223893 / 23°13’26” E
Address: 1 „Zheravitsa“ , Montanta, district Montana

Hotel-Restaurant Vesta  
GPS coordinates: 43.408684 / 43°24’31” N – 23.219929 / 23°13’11” E
Addres: 10 „Tsar Samuil“ , Montana, District Montana

Family hotel-restaurant Ring
GPS coordinates: 43.389178 / 43°23’21” N – 23.216836 / 23°13’0” E
Address: Ogosta lake, Montana, Montana District

Ancient Fortress Castra ad Montanesium, Montana
GPS coordinates: 43.402111 / 43 ° 24’7 “N – 23.217449 / 23 ° 13’2” E (at rest) or 43.400419 / 43 ° 24’1 “N – 23.220806 / 23 ° 13’15” E
Address: 91 Izvora str., Town of Montana, Montana District
Montana District hosts numerous historical attractions. The most significant one is the Fortress Castra ad Montanesium, situated in the northwestern part of Montana, on the Kaleto hill. There are numerous prehistoric archaeological findings for the first inhabitants of the Stone Age in this region. The settlement was also inhabited by the Thracians until the 1st century BC. Today, we see traces of stone walls more than one meter high that have been used to protect the fortress against external attacks. Due to its wealth of minerals, including gold around the Ogosta River, the place was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC. They also gave the name of the city, possibly deriving from the Latin word Mons, meaning mountain. Montana then became the centre of the Roman province Lower Mizia, with a permanent military presence, connected with trade routes leading to the rest of the Roman Empire. During this period, the exploitation of gold, the agriculture, and the craftsmanship developed rapidly here. Barracks, basilica, an ancient fortress wall, a pagan sanctuary, dedicated to the Roman gods Diana and Apollo, and others remains have been found here. The city was destroyed at the end of the 4th century with the invasion of the Avars and then the Slavs. The Slavs built a new settlement here named Kutlovitsa, and one of its buildings was transformed into a pagan sanctuary, preserved to this day, dedicated to the Slavonic god of fertility Perun.

Regional Museum of History, Montana
GPS coordinates: 43.406171 / 43 ° 24’22 “N – 23.226815 / 23 ° 13’36” E
Address: 3 Graf Ignatiev Str., Montana, Montana District.
If you are in Montana, drop by to visit the Regional History Museum. Initially it was founded in 1951 to commemorate the September Uprising, and therefore it was called “Museum of the September Uprising”. In 1991 it was declared a full-fledged museum of history. Today, it houses valuable collections, presenting the rich history of the entire region. The museum preserves valuable artefacts from the Thracian and Roman periods, the Middle Ages and the Bulgarian National Revival period. The Montana museum keeps a copy of the Yakimovo treasure, since the original is now in the National Museum of History in Sofia. There is an outdoor exposition, named Lapidarium, which is part of the Regional Museum of Montana. The museum sites Mihailova house, the train composition, the ancient fortress and the orthodox church of “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” are part of the entire complex.

Lapidarium Outdoor Exposition, Montana
GPS coordinates: 43.403955 / 43 ° 24’14 “N – 23.221906 / 23 ° 13’19” E
Address: “Dimitar Talev” Str., in the Park of the Popska Gradina, Montana, Montana.
The lapidarium is an open-air archaeological exposition representing epigraphic monuments of the Roman Empire. The composition includes 56 monuments found in the ancient Roman settlement Montanesium (now named Montana), today situated in a beautiful park in Montana. During the archeological excavations, inscriptions on a marble have been found, considered as important written sources about the culture and history of this region in the 2nd-3rd century AD. These are the only written sources found for this Roman provincial town. They give information about the cult of the goddess Diana, who was a defender of the town of Montana and other Roman deities. The inscriptions on stones and marble tell of the glorious past of the Roman emperors, senior military and civilians from the province of Lower Mizia.

Historical Museum in Chiprovtsi
GPS coordinates: 43.383742 / 43 ° 23’1 “N – 22.879665 / 22 ° 52’46” E
Address: 2 Vitosha Str., Chiprovtsi, Montana District
If you would like to learn more about the history of this area, a must-see destination on your route is the picturesque town of Chiprovtsi, located in the Balkans mountains. Its present and past are presented in the Town Museum of History in the centre of the town. The Museum was opened in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the so called “Chiprovsko” Uprising against the Turks. The museum houses the only collection of dyestuffs in Bulgaria, which is used to produce the famous Chiprovtsi carpets, which are part of the national cultural heritage of Bulgaria.

Trip Facts

  • 43.183361 / 43°11’0” N – 23.205413 / 23°12’19” E
  • At the foot of the Todorini doll peak (1785 m), 9 km from Berkovitsa and 12 km from the town of Varshets.
  • road D81, then D812, then the next exit 2 km away
  • Not required
  • Yes
  • klisurskimanastir.com
  • 00359886560612; 00359886560613
  • 112

Tourist information centres in Bulgaria

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County of Mehedinţi

County of Dolj

County of Olt