Tours Sofia see ‘The Royal Monastery’
Dragalevtsi Monastery of the Holy Mother of God of Vitosha belongs to the group of monasteries around Sofia that were erected at the end of the 14th and 15th century. The monastery can easily be Tours Sofia and an escape from the capital’s daily life. It is the most impressive monastery around Sofia. It is also one of the most well-kept holy places, with a big garden that is very green and peaceful.
The oldest annals say that the monastery was established by Tsar Ivan Alexander in 1345 at the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Later the monastery was taken care of by the son of Tsar Ivan Alexander, Tzar Ivan Shishman. At that time the cloister was granted lands and tax exemption. The rulers and boyars would donate lands and money to Dragalevtsi Monastery. Because of that, the locals used to call it ‘Royal Monastery’.
Unlike many other monasteries, the Dragalevtsi Monastery was spared and not destroyed by the Ottoman Turks for a long time. Unfortunately, though, in 1382 – with the conquering of Sofia, the monastery was desecrated and left by the monks, who lived and took care of the cloister.
An important literary centre in Tours Sofia
There are no written sources preserved for what happened to the monastery up to 1470s. From a gospel written in 1469, we can understand that the recovery of the monastery was finished by that time. Thus, we understand there was an unknown saviour of the monastery, who recovered the holy place. Monks gathered there again.
Tours Sofia like taking you to great places and telling you interesting stories and legends.
There is a legend for the Dragalevtsi Monastery that locals still tell it. Shepherds from the village of Dragalevtsi found once an icon of the Holy Mother in the field. They took the icon to the village church. Interestingly, the following day they found the icon again on the same spot. For them, that was a sign from God. They started building a small church, in honour of the Holy Mother, on the place. Soon some monks settled around the church.
Over the centuries, the monastery has always been under the auspices of the tzar dynasty. Also many Christians donated the holy place and today the Dragalevtsi Monastery is one of the well-preserved monasteries in the country.
In the XVI – XVII c. the monastery became a center of the Sofia Literary School and attracted many pilgrims, educated people and spiritual men from Bulgaria and countries from abroad. Many holy books were written and re-written in the place. Some of them are kept till today.
The Dragalevtsi Monastery was also a big revolutionary centre during the XIX century. During his journeys around Bulgaria, Vasil Levski used the monastery as a place to hide and he established a secret revolutionary committee for the Sofia region.