Lopushanski Monastery

Popular Name Lopushanski
Orthodox Name St. John the Precursor
Region NW, Montana

The Lopushanski monastery is situated at 300m above sea level in the Chiprovtsi part of the Balkan mountain. It is impressive for its architecture, proportions and stone plastics.

History and general info
There is a legend about the monastery during Ottoman times. According to it, the monastery’s watermill often hosted ‘hajduti’ (i.e. Bulgarian rebels during the Ottoman rule). One day a father and a daughter set off from the nearby village on their way to the monastery. A Turk started chasing them in the middle of the road and the two hid into the monastery, where the Ognyan ‘voevoda’ (leader of haiduti) was also taking a rest. The Turk tried to assault the girl but Ognyan slayed him with an axe. The Turk's body was hidden into a pile of manure behind the building but unfortunately, the hound of the Turk witnessed the entire scene. The dog went back to his owner's home and started howling. The Turk’s relatives got concerned and started to search him. The dog led them to the watermill and they found the body. Then, the monastery was set on fire and all the monks slaughtered except for one who escaped to Serbia. In fact, the cloister was completely ruined at the time of the Ottoman invasion in the second half of the 14th century.

A priest named Petko from the village of Glavanovtsi and an ordinary man from the village of Lopushna decided to rebuild the monastery not later than 1850. They built up a cottage with an old icon inside. Other people also helped with the reconstruction of the cloister. Thus, the Lopushanski monastery was reconstructed and later became a favourite place of the renowned Bulgarian poet and writer, Ivan Vazov, who created a part of his world famous novel, Under the Yoke, while staying at the monastery. In 1989, the cloister was renovated. The then-abbot Amvrosii had the biggest distribution to the present-day marvel of the monastery. With his knowledge of engineering he constructed a new residential building with two beautiful woodcarved verandas.

The monastery’s church, St. John the Precursor, represents a massive rectangular building with 5 domes. It was consecrated in 1856. Impressive stone plastics attract one's attention from the outside, a detail, which is not typical for Bulgarian monasteries. There are no wallpaintings inside. It is worth seeing the central woodcarved iconostasis created in 1863 by the renowned Bulgarian iconpainter Nikolay Dospevski from Samokov.
Accommodation and food
The monastery offers accommodation and food. The hotel part includes 16 rooms (with the price being 8-10 levs per room) and a restaurant-‘magernitsa’ (the latter meaning a monastery kitchen) for the visitors.
The monastery is relatively easy to reach by car, following the road from the town of Montana to the smaller town of Chiprovtsi. The offroad to the village of Georgi Damyanovo is then to be taken. The monastery lies shortly after the village, on the side of the road.

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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