Kladnitsa Monastery

Popular Name Kladnitsa
Orthodox Name St. Nikolay Mirlikiiski
Region SW, Sofia

The Kladnitsa monastery “St Nikolay Mirikliiski the Miracle-Worker” is situated 30km away from Sofia, on the Western slope of the Vitosha mountain. It rises at 1,200m above sea level, a few kilometers above the village of Kladnitsa.

History and general info
The remains of an ancient fortress during the Second Bulgarian State can be seen just above the monastery. There were two churches inside the fortress – the St Nikola church and the St Petka church. After the Turks seized the fortress, all its inhabitants were killed and the two churches were set on fire. Later, the local people repaired them and continued to come to the area and pray. Gradually, the two churches became a part of a bigger monastery complex.

In 1830, an old man from the village of Murchaevo had a dream that he was chosen to renovate this monastery. He succeeded to talk to the sultan in Tsarigrad (present-day Istanbul) and receive an official permission (ferman) for the monastery’s renewal. Reconstruction started in 1841 and ended in 1845. The man from Murchaevo, named Spas, sold his own cattle in order to support the repair works. Some funds were raised from local people. Spas became the first father superior of the monastery and moved to live there. In the spring of 1848 Spas was killed by the Turks. Despite the death of Spas, the monastery continued functioning until 1944.

The narthex was built much later – in 1885, according to an inscription over the frescoes. It is believed that The Samokov-born icon-painter, Nikola Obrazopisov, painted the iconostasis’ icons in the Kladnitsa monastery. He was the author of the iconostasis’ icons in the local church of the village, too.

Unfortunately, a large part of the icon-paintings are damaged. Those painted on the ceiling have been partly washed away by rains, while the entire wall has lost its coverage at its lower part. The iconostasis is made of carved wood, shaped with plaster and covered with gold foil and paintings. Its original icons have been cleaned up and now they attract visitors’ attention with their artistic value.

After 1944 the process of nationalization deprived the monastery of its properties. Its religious functions died out. Nevertheless, in 2000-2001 the Kladnitsa local authorities undertook to restore the monastery. At present, services are restored and the church started to receive visitors all around the week.

Two curable springs have been found in close proximity to the monastery. As Vitosha is a seismic area, one of the springs lost its waters some years ago. The other one can be found to the right of the road connecting the village of Kladnitsa with the monastery. This area is called Bogov Kladents, which means God’s Well. A legend says that spring waters cure eye diseases and headache.
Accommodation and food
Food and accommodation are not offered in the monastery but the Selimitsa mountain chalet, situated nearby, is a place to sleep in and have a meal. The hut is reached down a 3km paved road that starts from the village of Kladnitsa. Its restaurant has a dining hall for 40 people and an open-air terrace. The chalet can accommodate up to 20 people in 6 rooms and has a common bathroom. The Selimitsa mehana that can put up for the night 15 people and has a garden restaurant for 60 people is also to be found nearby.
The road to the monastery is paved and accessible throughout the whole year, since it is cleaned and covered with sand during the winter. Every hour around the week an itinerary taxi leaves from the city of Sofia (central railway station) and comes to the centre of the village of Kladnitsa. A regular bus to the village can be also taken from the town of Pernik (N21) or from the bus station in the Sofia quarter of Ovcha Kupel.
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