Happy New Year from Rila

Venue: Rila monastery and around

Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.4

Music: Stefka Sabotinova / Стефка Съботинова – The mountain has overturned / Притури са планината (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ9BkiDEsGw

Happy new year, my best wishes to everyone here for 2019!

Just like last year (https://kirilson.com/2018/01/09/happy-new-year-from-bansko/), I decided to give my new year’s wishes with a post from the Bulgarian mountains, Rila instead of Pirin this time. Recently I had the luck of catching the snow-covered Rila monastery and its surroundings just a few hours before the temperatures rose and the snow melted (of course in the comings 2-3 months there will be a lot more snow to come but I might not be traveling there again this year). So, enjoy the snow and stay tuned as I promise you a lot more from me in 2019!

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Our phototour starts around noon in the forest around 10 min walk away from the Rila monastery, where the hotel I was staying at is situated.
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It was a beautiful cold day, with the sun slowly rising above the hills. This is in the foot of Rila mountain at an elevation around 1200 metres (the mountain itself rises as high as 3 km).
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It was a perfectly clear sky, but the sun started melting the snow on the trees so it effectively started snowing…
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..and this helped a lot for capturing some nice shots.
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This is the semi-frozen Rila river.
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The view from the pathway to the monastery, you see how the beech forest turns into a pine forest at higher elevation.
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The snowy path and a small traditional style restaurant and guesthouse on the side of the monastery.
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The view towards the church (right) and the medieval fortress (left; in the past there were many occasions when the monks also had to defend themselves) inside the Rila monastery.
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Another look at the church from far away…
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..and a closer look before entering the church (no photos allowed inside).
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A wider view to the monastery complex. This is the biggest Eastern orthodox monastery in Bulgaria, founded by the popular Bulgarian saint, the hermit Ivan of Rila, who lived in the 9th and 10th century AD.
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The Rila monastery is considered Bulgaria’s most important cultural heritage institution that kept the old cultural and religious traditions of the Bulgarians during the five centuries of Ottoman rule (yes, that’s 500 years). During all that time, Islam was the main state religion and Christianity was only strongly kept in the very isolated mountain areas such as the Rila mountains.
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The post office inside the Rila monastery, bearing a distinctive end of 19th-beginning of 20th century look. And the end of the phototour, wishing you again a great start of the new year.

 

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