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THE DRYANOVO MONASTERY "ST. ARCHANGEL MICHAEL"

The Dryanovo monastery stands at 4 km off the town of Dryanovo and 20 km off the town of Gabrovo, in the canyon of the Dryanovska River. On all sides it is surrounded by high and steep slopes overgrown with trees. It exists since the 12th c. According to the legend, the procession with the relics of St. Michael the Warrior spent the night there when they were transported to Turnovo at the time of King Kaloyan.

After the Ottoman invasion the monastery has been destroyed several times. It was restored in the spot called "Small Archangel", not far from the old one. The present monastery was built in 1845, during its restoration. In 1861 the church was erected and then destroyed by fire in 1876, during the suppression of the April Uprising. This was the last destruction of the monastery. The photo made just a couple of months after that shows only the charred stone walls of the church and part of the stone building.

The restoration of the monastery began in 1880. In its present-day form, with its long yard and beautiful buildings and stone walls washed by the waters of the Dryanovska River, it fascinates the visitors with the magic of times long gone.

The Dryanovo monastery is directly connected with the struggle for national liberation. In it the Apostle of freedom Vassil Levski and Father Matei Preobrazhenski set up a centre for the preparation of the uprising in the Turnovo region. When in 1876 the April Uprising broke up, the monastery became a silent witness of tragic and glorious events. Followed by Turkish soldiers and bashibozouks, the two hundred revolutionaries, led by the voevode Father Hariton, Peter Parmakov and the teacher Bacho Kiro, fortified themselves behind the thick walls. The fierce battle lasted for nine days. At the end the rebels were defeated and the monastery was burnt down together with the numerous monuments of culture collected for so many centuries. Most of the rebels were killed or captured and only 42 escaped. As a sign of respect for the heroic deeds of the revolutionaries a small mausoleum was erected in the yard of the monastery.

Near the monastery is situated one of the oldest inhabited caves in Bulgaria. In it one can see cultural layers of the middle and late Paleolith

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