The Razboishki Monastery is one of the few active rock monasteries in Bulgaria. Its founding is shrouded in legend, and according to some researchers dates back to the time of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, and according to others it appeared only a few centuries later. According to others, the cave, which now houses his church, has been inhabited by hermit monks since the 4th century. In any case, the earliest preserved frescoes in it are from the 14th century. It is believed that, like the Ivanovo rock monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was founded by monks who wanted to escape worldly vanity and sins and therefore sought refuge in the rocks.
According to the legend, as soon as they decided to unite in their prayers to God and found a monastery, the monks began to build the church “Introduction to the Mother of God” at the Razboishki monastery at the foot of the rocks. But miraculously, everything they built during the day collapsed at night. Then the Mother of God appeared to one of the monks, who told him that the temple should be built on high, in a niche in the rocks, which the hermits had previously used to offer their prayers to the Lord. Once they changed places, the church was quickly built without more obstacles. As another version of the same legend, this happened during one of the rebuildings of the destroyed monastery during the Ottoman ruling.
Another legend says that on the way to Jerusalem in the monastery in the Middle Ages stayed St Sava. He devoted himself to fasting and prayers in the cave, which was later turned into a church because of his holiness, and healing water gushed from the rock.
The monastery was burned down several times during the Ottoman occupation and rebuilt. It was originally named after the nearby village of Kurzhilovtsi, which was wiped out in the 16th century by the Ottomans. During one of the robberies of the monastery, all the monks were slaughtered, but one managed to escape and rebuilt the monastery. However, he chose a new place – on the opposite bank of the river, where the buildings are actually located today.
After another destruction, the building was restored by a relative of the Bulgarian revolutionary Philip Totyu, who became abbot of the monastery. Proponents of the freedom of Bulgaria, such as the Apostle Vasil Levski and Matei Preobrazhenski – Mitkaloto, also hid in the Razboishki Monastery. According to the legend, it was in the monastery that the three decided to produce a large part of the gunpowder for the April Uprising against the Ottomans. But a traitor betrayed them. However, the revolutionaries and the monks managed to escape through a secret passage, but the abbot and a novice remained in the monastery. The Ottomans killed the abbot, and the novice then fled and told the story.
The monastery was deserted and only at the end of the 50s of the 20th century three nuns settled in it. After their death, the Razboishki Monastery became male monastery again.
Undoubtedly the most interesting is the visit of the rock church to the monastery. Fragments of frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries have been preserved from its outer wall. In the church itself, unfortunately, most of the frescoes were destroyed, and during one of the renovations, plaster was placed on the painted icons. Specialists are not sure whether images are preserved under it, because according to one of the theories, in order to level the plaster, the drawings were built with a chisel and were completely destroyed.
The church is open for visits on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and by the river next to the outer wall of the monastery are tables and benches where you can relax or have a picnic.
To reach the monastery from the capital, you have to take the road to Godech and deviate from the town to the village of Tuden. After passing through it you reach Razboishte, pass through the village and at the end you can leave your car in a makeshift parking lot, which is actually a wide meadow. You will find your way around the other cars unless you arrive too early in the morning. From there you will find a path, which in about 30-40 minutes long, depending on the time during which you will admire the scenery along the route. Shortly before the monastery, you can take pictures of the rails, on which a train rarely passes, but still be careful. The most picturesque is the walk in the autumn because of the unique colors of the different trees in the area of the monastery.