Rila Monastery is one of the symbols of Bulgaria and preferred tourist destination. The monastery is located in the mountain crannies of Rila Mountain, between the rivers Rilska and Drushlyavitsa, at 1147 m above sea level. The monastery is about 120 km away from Sofia and 41 km away from Blagoevgrad.
The entire area of the holy cloister, comprising the church, residential and management buildings, is 8800 sq.m. Twenty two meters high stone walls surround the vast monastery yard, the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary church, Hrelyo’s tower, the museum, the residential and the management buildings. The monastery has about 300 rooms, 100 of which are monastic cells.
At about 4 km away from the monastery, along a marked path, one can reach the cave that St. John of Rila has chosen for his refuge. Later on the church “Assumption of St. John of Rila” is constructed near the cave and is reconstructed in 1820. One can enter the cave through a narrow pass between the rock and the church.
Rila Monastery is a functioning male monastery. Car and bus parking area is available in front of the two monastery gates. The monastery offers night stay, and from the bookstore and the shops in Hrelyo’s tower, as well as in the area around the monastery, one can buy icons, albums, post cards, souvenirs, as well as traditional Bulgarian craft items.