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BACHKOVO MONASTERY was built in 1083 by Grigorii Bakuriani, a military in the Byzantine Empire, a Georgian by origin. From that time is the ossuary with its exquisite architecture and wall-paintings. The winter church of the Archangels dates in all likelihood to the 12th century. After 1344 tsar Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) raised several new buildings. In the early 16th century the monastery was destroyed by the Turkish conquerors to be restored in the late 16th century. Of great interest are the monastery refectory (1601), the big domed kitchen, the church of the Assumption (1604) with murals dating from 1643, the domed church of St Nicholas (1837) decorated in 1840 by the Revival Period painter Zahari Zograph.One of the oldest monasteries in the Bulgarian lands, it rises in the picturesque Chaya river valley, 29 km south of Plovdiv. Monastery is chiefly known for its original architecture, rich collections of old icons, jewelry, coins and church plate. The library preserves many valuable incunabula and old manuscripts. Its most remarkable feature, however, are the paintings that are seen everywhere - in the church and ossuary, where the figure of the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander is discernible among the 11th and 14th century murals, in the refectory (1601), in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin main church (1604), and in the Holy Trinity and St. Nicholas church.

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