About 10 km off the town of Troyan, in the colourful valley of the river Cherni Osam and the foot of the Balkan Mountain, is situated the famous Troyan monastery, second in size in Bulgaria. According to the legend, in the end of the 16th c an anonymous monk built a small wooden church in this place.

The monastery is among the most important literary and educational centres of the National Revival. A school was opened in it for the population in the area since 1765. Because of the frequent attacks, for several decades the literary activity and the school were moved to the small isolated monastery ,,St. Nicholas” in the mountain.

In the 17th and 18th c the monastery went through great difficulties and suffered many attacks of the kurdjali and only in the second half of the 19th c it established its status.

With the help of the local population and rich donors a wide-scale construction began. In 1835 Master Constantine of Peshtera built the present-day church. Its complex architectural forms fill visitors with admiration. The mural paintings in the temple were made by the icon-painter Zachary Zograph (1847-1849). With the bright colours and democratic interpretation of the subject matter it expresses the joyful spirits of the man of the Revival. In addition to the evangelical scenes, the painter depicted many prominent Bulgarians – literary men, kings, and martyrs of the faith. He painted the portraits of the church founders, the monks in the monastery and his own portrait. The depicted scenes of ,,Doomsday” and ,,The Wheel of Life” are among the best pieces of the famous icon-painter.

Interesting are the numerous icons kept in the church or in the museum collection of the monastery. Among them is the miraculous icon ,,The Three-handed Holy Virgin” of the 18th c.

The gilded iconostasis in the main church made in 1839-1840 by Master Nikola Mateev is a magnificent product of wood-carving.

The construction of the buildings constituting the monastery yard continued till the end of 19th c. In 1865 Master Ivan of Mlechevo built a four-storey bell-tower which was reconstructed in 1987. On the second floor is situated a chapel dedicated to the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius.

The monks of the monastery took part in the national liberation struggle and in 1872 the Apostle of freedom Vassil Levski founded a secret revolutionary committee there.

The museum collection of the monastery keeps many icons and works of applied art.

The monastery has two small isolated monasteries (skits) – ,,St. Nicholas” built in 1785 and ,,St. John the Precursor” built in 1832.

It is visited by numerous worshippers from all over the country. The day of the monastery August 15 is commemorated with a three-day fair.

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