Gorna Banya Monastery

Popular Name Gorna Banya
Orthodox Name St. Cyril and Methodius
Region SW, Sofia

The Gorna Banya monastery, also known as the Lyulin monastery, is named after the St Cyril and St Methodius. It is located 5-6km away from the Gorna Banya quarter of Sofia.

History and general info
The monastery is also known as St King Monastery for the presence of the relics of the Serbian king Stefan Urosh II Milutin here. It emerged in the 15th century around a small fortress church. In 1453 Sultan Mehmed II promised religious freedoms to the local Christian population and protection of the clergy. At this time monks built the Gorna Banya monastery.

The monastery has been repeatedly destroyed and then rebuilt. In 1863 an official permission for reconstruction of the monastery church under the name of St Cyril and St Metodius was taken. With the help of donations by residents of Gorna Banya and neighboring villages, as well as Sofia crafts’ associations, the construction of a grand two-storey residential building with porches, and a stone church was started. The revolutionary Vassil Levski visited the monastery in the autumn of 1872 and soon after the visit the construction was stopped. Ananii, the father superior, was sent away to the Kladnitsa monastery. Two of the main organizers of the construction - Tsone and Atanas Papazaliiski – were sent to Ruschuk (present-day Rousse) to be hanged. But they managed to escape and soon afterwards the construction works were renewed. Thus, the new church was consecrated in 1876 by the Sofia metropolitan priest Mileti.

After the Liberation, the monastery owned significant properties - forests, fields, meadows, cattle. In the 50es of the 20th century, however, military men were accommodated there putting an end to the religious life. The properties were plundered, the farm was destroyed while the monks were chased away.

At present, only the church is functioning. Behind the altar beautiful wall-paintings can be noticed. The life story of the King Stefan Urosh II Milutin can be also read in the church although the relics themselves have been moved to the St Nedelya church in Sofia.
Accommodation and food
Not offered at this time.
The church can be reached by car from the Gorna Banya quarter of Sofia. It is some 5-6 km away from there, by taking the Obzor Street of the quarter and leaving Gorna Banya, passing through the Gorna Banya villa zone and following the main road after the villa zone.

For all your travel needs, contact Amadeus7 - touroperator in Bulgaria.
Send email to or call directly tel. +359 878 822 803.

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