One of the wonders of Montana Province is the magnificent Lopushna Monastery, lying at the foot of Stara Planina, not far from the village of Georgi Damyanovo. It is exactly 30 kilometers from the town of Berkovitsa and about 120 kilometers from Sofia. From Montana take the road to Chiprovtsi, then turn at the exit for Georgi Damyanovo, and you will see the monastery in front of you. Its fate is similar to that of most Bulgarian monasteries during the Ottoman rule when it was destroyed, plundered and rebuilt multiple times. After the 1853 restoration, it became an important spiritual centre. For a time it maintained a monastic school for the children of poor families living in the area. It is also linked with the liberation struggles of the Bulgarians against the Ottomans. National writer Ivan Vazov considered the monastery a favorite place and wrote part of his much-loved novel Under the Yoke here. For a long time, the place was known as the deserted monastery on account of its long-lasting abandonment after the destruction at the time of the Chiprovtsi Uprising of 1688. Today’s complex includes a church, dormitories, and a white stone drinking fountain, built in 1856, with three spouts of holy water, springing 3 kilometers below the ground. In the monastery church of the Assumption of the Theotokos look for the impressive high arcade of the U-shaped external gallery, resting on twelve cylindrical columns. Two of the church icons of Jesus Christ and the Theotokos were painted in 1863 by the prominent Bulgarian artist Stanislav Dospevski (1823-1878). The monastery is active and all-male and provides overnight accommodation. Despite its geographical location in Montana Province, today it is part of Vidin Eparchy.
- 43.376843 / 43°22’36” N – 23.020922 / 23°1’15” E
- 3470 Georgi Damyanovo
- D102, then D1024
- Not required