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The Teteven Monastery "St. Prophet Elijah" preserved over the centuries

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The Teteven Monastery "St. Prophet Elijah" preserved over the centuries

The Teteven Monastery "Holy Prophet Elijah" was founded somewhere around the 12th-13th century. It is located in the town of Teteven at the foot of Mount Ostrich. In the monastery yard there is a church, a monastery and a gazebo. The garden, as well as the entire monastery, is extremely well maintained and will impress you right from the entrance. Many flowers have been planted, and the grass is carefully mowed and inviting us to walk. There is also a metal swing in the courtyard, from which there is a great view of the cliffs surrounding the city. A fabulous place for a wonderful monastery.

The church of the monastery has been very well restored, and extremely valuable icons are stored inside. Icon paintings from three different periods can be observed in it - the 17th century, the 19th century and new ones that have just begun. Restorers have undertaken to restore the frescoes, but they remain only as a blueprint and are not completed. Subsequently, other restorers came, who were not hired to finish the icons that had been started, and left them as they were.

How to get to the monastery?

The monastery is located in the town of Teteven and you can reach it on foot. From the square, you will need ten minutes on foot to reach the entrance of the monastery.
Teteven is located about 100 km from Sofia, 85 km from Pleven and 140 km from Veliko Tarnovo. It is most easily accessible from Northern Bulgaria.

How long it takes to look around?

Allow about 30-45 minutes to explore the monastery. I think it will be enough for you to explore the beautiful church, the green garden and enjoy the views from the courtyard of the monastery.

Does the place have an interesting history?

Yeeesss! I'm glad you asked the adventurer. What is interesting about the monastery is that it has managed to be preserved over the centuries. In 1801, the Kardzhaliyas (a group of soldiers who deserted from the Ottoman Empire) treacherously invaded the city of Teteven, looting and burning it almost entirely. Only a few houses and monasteries have been preserved. Later it was a book center and had a cell school and library. It was visited by the activists of the national liberation movement.

Valuable icons and an iconostasis made in the 19th century are preserved in the church. from Teteven or Trevne carvers. Particularly valuable are the icons of "St. Elijah", "Christ the Forbearer", "John the Baptist", "St. Constantine and Helena" and "Council of the Archangels", dating from the 18th century. At the moment, the monastery is not active and there are no monks in it. However, the most precious thing for him is aunt Nevena, who takes care of his condition and welcomes visitors with great desire and a smile.

Is there a convenient picnic spot or something to eat nearby?

There is a convent in the monastery, but it is not working. There is a gazebo in the yard that has benches and tables and I guess you can sit for a rest there. If you want to try local food, I would recommend you to visit Hotel Teteven and try the local brine - a Teteven specialty similar to fish soup.

What is the cost to visit?

There is no charge to visit. You can buy a candle, some souvenir or donate money in the monastery box if you want to help.

When is the best time to visit?

I would recommend you to visit the monastery during the week if possible. For these places, I believe it's nice to be there on a less busy day so I can feel its atmosphere and serenity. We visited on a Friday and were the only visitors at that time.

What is interesting nearby?

  • Ecopath to Mount Ostrich from the village of Babintsi - this is the peak above the monastery. You can climb up to it and enjoy the panoramic view of the city from above. Read more about her here.
  • Eco-path "Under the spray of the waterfall" - this is one of my favorite places in the area. I visited the last part of the eco-trail, which is in the forest, and I was very fascinated by the place and the nature around. Read more about her here.
  • City History Museum Teteven - the museum is located right on the square in the center of Teteven and will surely captivate you with its history. In it you will find many interesting objects and findings from the life and lifestyle of the locals over the centuries, their crafts and customs. The organizer tells a very fascinating story and will certainly help you to transport yourself to these times. Read more about it here.

I want to especially thank our hosts from the municipality of Teteven, the regional association Tour Club ReMark, our wonderful tour guide Mladen Milev and ASTOM (Association of Owners of Tourist Online Media) for this wonderful weekend and the great organization.

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