Sokolsky Monastery (Соколски манастир)
The Sokolsky monastery “The Assumption of the Holy Virgin” is a holy place, that you should not miss out on. If you have a few spare hours and you wonder how to make the best of those, then the visit to this monastery is a must! In order to do that, you have to head in the direction of the town Gabrovo and 12km further you are going to reach the gates of the Sokolsky Monastery. Before that you are going to pass by Etara, but more information about it is available a bit further.
The Sokolsky Monastery “The Assumption of the Holy Virgin” is an active nunnery, although from its establishment in 1833 till mid 20th C. it used to be a friary.
His founders are abbot Yosif Sokolsky and hieromonk Agapi, who initially raised a small wooden church and added to it a house.
What we can see today has been built in the year after that with free-willing donations by the people from the nearby villages.
The monastery buildings have П-shaped architecture and form an inner yard- incredibly well maintained, bright and welcoming, with tall trees and flower lanes. Right in the middle of the yard a stone piped spring is located, decorated with hawks, that is the work of the famous Bulgarian building master Kolyo Ficheto. A cobbled pathway takes you to the monastery church itself, which has some stairs leading right into it. That creates the illusion that the monastery has two levels.
The church is extremely pictorial and mural-painted both from the inside, as well as from the outside. To the right of the church building there is a small cave.
The living and farm buildings of the monastery are build in the tradition of the revival architecture- with a lot of verandas and bow windows. You can visit the small museum collection, that displays various exhibits, related to the history of the monastery itself. Amongst the most interesting ones are the sword of Tsanko Dyustabanov, as well as objects, that are believed to have belonged to the most famous Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski.
In the Sokolsky Monastery there used to be a functioning religious school, in which Neofit Bozhveli himself used to teach during the Revival period.
The atmosphere, that greets you, once you take a step through the doorway of the monastery, will make you leave behind a piece of your heart at this incredible place.