THE GABROVO SOKOLSKI MONASTERY ,,THE ASSUMPTION”

The monastery is situated among the northern slopes of the Shipka-Teteven part of the Balkan Mountain, in a beautiful place called ,,Sokola”, about 12 km off Gabrovo.
It was founded by the prominent clergyman and educator Joseph called later Sokolski. In the beginning a small church was built and in 1834, aided by the population in the region, in its place was erected a large stone building with a dome over a polyhedral drum. The walls on the outside are plastically formed, with shallow alcoves, and in the western part is formed an open narthex.
The monastery complex is situated on two levels, which is an exception. The church is on the lower and smaller level, surrounded on three sides by rocks and in the north it opens to a beautiful view. The rest of the buildings are on the spacious and flat upper level.
According to the memorial inscription, the church was painted in 1862 by priest Pavel and his son Nikola from the village of Shipka, Kazanluk region. The images inside are severely damaged but the mural paintings in the open narthex are in a better condition. The quality of the paintings however indicates that the old art of church painting, practiced for centuries, was declining.
The large monastery yard is surrounded by living quarters in the style of the Revival, with bay-windows, stairways with wooden railings and beautiful nooks. In the middle sounds the melodious ripple of the eight spouts of the exquisite fountain built in 1868 by Master Kolyo Ficheto. The well-kept alleys with lots of flowers and verdure add to the impression. Today almost all buildings are restored in their original form from the Revival.
The monastery was an educational centre from the very beginning and in 1836 Father Superior Joseph Sokolski opened a school for the children of the surrounding villages. One of the leaders of the National Revival Neofit Bozveli taught there for some time.
The detachment of the Voevode Tsanko Dyustabanov gathered and was sworn behind the monastery walls and after that they took part in the April Uprising (1876).
The museum collection of the monastery contains exhibits from the national liberation movement, among them objects that belonged to the Apostle of freedom Vassil Levski.

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