On November 8, the day of St. Archangel Michael, the Kokalyan Monastery celebrates its temple holiday. It is located very close to Sofia, in the village of Kokalyane in the mountain Plana. According to the legend, the monastery was built on the request of the Bulgarian tzar Samuel in the 11th century. The ruler of Bulgaria hunted on these lands and killed a deer. As the animal was dying it began to cry, and the tzar ordered that on the spot should build a monastery in the name of Archangel Michael, as the ruler hunted exactly on the day of the saint.
The monastery was burned twice during the Ottoman rule and was restored again in the 18th century. In 1969 the building was declared a monument of culture. The monastery consists of a church, two chapels, a bell tower, and of course the monks’ homes. The church is painted by the famous Bulgarian icon-painter Nikola Obrazopisov and his students and the icons in the church were donated by residents of the nearby village of Zheleznitsa.
To get to the cloister you have to climb a steep path. The Kokalyan Collection compiled in the 16th century was found in the monastery. Its 50th pages contain commendable words about the archangels Michael and Gabriel, about Kliment Ohridski, information and talks about the pilgrims. Since 1579, the so-called Kokalyan Gospel dates back.
Near the monastery can be seen the ruins of the Urvich fortress built in the 9-10th century. The name of the village of Kokalyane is also associated with it. According to the legend during the invasion of Bulgaria by the Ottomans, Urvich Castle falls. At the time of its capture, the conquerors slaughtered many people, and their bones were scattered in the surrounding area, and by the many human bones, the village bears its name Kokalyane.