|ceiling detail with the baptism of Christ, Rila Monestary|
|The interior courtyard of Rila Monastery and the Cathedral Рождество Богородично|
|painted doorway in the monastery|
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Bulgarian culture and identity enjoyed a renaissance during the National Revival. During this period Rila Monastery was destroyed by a fire, and rebuilt as we see it today, using a design typical of the Revival style of architecture and decoration.
Surrounding the church at the center of the courtyard, is the pleasant, four-story high residence of the monastery, decorated with simple painted designs in black and white and red, in geometric and floral motifs.
These areas reminded me of the old mission churches in California.
|Erling studying a panel on the Sin of False Confession|
|Christ depicted in one of the domes of the porch|
|In the spaces between domes are illustrations of stories from the Bible|
|Archangels: detail of a fresco in the Rila porch|
|ornamental elements support the architecture|
|Archangel Michael / Архангел Михаил|
|A priest at Rila Monastery|
The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila is UNESCO World Heritage site which receives nearly nine hundred thousand visitors each year. It is still an active monastery and a pilgrimage site.
There are volunteers inside the church who will give you a green cloak to wear over your head and shoulders if you are not modestly attired. I always travel with my own scarf in case I need to cover my head in the church, mosque, or temple I am visiting.
One of the priests was keeping a dignified watch over the area to make sure the younger tourists behaved. I showed him my camera monitor after taking this picture and asked his permission to use this photo.
More from Bulgaria: Opus Lisatum
Erling Wold: "Certitude and Joy" mp3
performed by the Sofia Philharmonic, June 2, 2011
In this post I wish to express my profound gratitude to my teacher and mentor, Dr. Otto Mower, with whom I traveled to Bulgaria in 1980 on my first visit to Europe, as part of a study tour of art history. That I became a decorative artist was in large part due to his influence and encouragement. Dr. Mower passed away on February 7, 2012.
all images in this post by Lynne Rutter, Bulgaria June 2011
click on images to view larger