Situated in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, the Arapovski Monastery highlights the country’s cultural and religious legacy. Constructed in the mid-19th century, the St. Nedelya church exemplifies Bulgarian architecture with its triple nave and dome. Master craftsman Stoyan Uzunov designed the altarpiece, iconostasis, and four smaller iconostases. In 1864, renowned artists Georgi Danchev and Alexey Atanasov painted exquisite frescoes depicting evangelical scenes and Bulgarian saints.
Fortified Tower and Complex
Famous brigand leader Angel Voyvoda commissioned the impressive fortified tower in the monastery complex. This rectangular tower serves as a lookout and residential building. The first two stone floors feature narrow windows for defense, while the third wooden floor offers four rentable rooms with protruding bay windows.
Arapovski Monastery in History
The monastery played a significant role in Bulgaria’s history, providing refuge during the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War and serving as a revolutionary hub. Abbot Gerwasiy Levkiyski formed a secret committee against Ottoman authorities.
Restoration and Expansion
A 1928 earthquake damaged the monastery; it has been thoughtfully restored and expanded. The active worship site houses a thriving monk community and attracts tourists interested in Bulgaria’s heritage.
Visiting Arapovski Monastery Today
The monastery is located near Zlatovrah village, about 10 km from Asenovgrad and 30 km from Plovdiv. Its convenient location makes it a perfect family-friendly destination.