Chekotinski Monastery

Popular Name Chekotinski
Orthodox Name St. Archangel Michael
Region SW, Sofia

The Chekotinski monastery “St. Archangel Michael” is located 20km to the northeast of the town of Botevgrad and 10km away from the town of Pravets, on the bank of the Malak Iskar river in the skirts of the Balkan mountain.

History and general info
The monastery, built at the end of the 12th c. - the first half of the 13th c., is connected with Bozhenski Urvich fortress that was situated 4km away from it. Excavations showed that a church complex had existed beneath it, and the two religious centers – the Chekotinski monastery and the fortress’s church complex. At the end of 14th century the Bozhenski Urvich was conquered by the Ottoman troops and soon the monastery was destroyed.

In 17th century the monastery’s church was rebuilt. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards it was again destroyed by so-called bands of “Kurdzhalii”. With the efforts of the local people the church was reconstructed towards the middle of the 19th century. This reconstruction is testified to by an inscription on a stone at the church’s southern window, where the year 1847 is written. In fact, the church represents the only building of the medieval complex that has partly survived to date.

The church represents a one-nave basilica with a narthex, apse and a cylindrical entrance, which is typical for the architecture of Christian churches of the 12-13th c. Two opposite niches jut out on the northern and southern walls of the church, with the northern one hiding a secret door that led to an underground tunnel connecting the church with one of the residential buildings that perched on a rock next to the church. This secret passage was used by the famous Bulgarian revolutionary Vassil Levski, who used to hide in the monastery.

One of the rare wall-paintings of the church is that of God himself, who is depicted as an old man with a white mantle at his full height with a triangle halo, surrounded by stars against a celestial background. Another interesting piece of art is the icon of St Mina, painted by Hadzhi Ivancho from the town of Gabrovo as well as the church’s carved wooden iconostasis with rich decorations made by masters of the Tryavna school.

A large three-storey building with an underground floor, foreseen for a cellar and a storeroom for food products can be seen just next to the church. The monastery’s kitchen existed only until the 30es of the 20th century. In 19th century a school for children from the 1st to the 4th grade was built just above the kitchen. Yet both the kitchen and the school were destroyed later on in order to give way to the construction of a two-storey residential building. Unfortunately, it caught fire and was destroyed in 1991.

A chapel, painted in bright colors, has been functioning for several years now on the second floor of the residential building. It often hosts church services on different occasions.

Gasification has been provided for the monastery since 2000.
Accommodation and food
The monastery offers 55 beds with hot water in each room.
The monastery can be reached down along a good asphalt road that starts from the Hemus highway (connecting Sofia and Varna) and is well-signed. One needs to step down from the highway once Pravets is reached and take the road to the town of Roman.
+359 (0)71 337280; +359 (0)88 8423432

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