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Shipchen Monastery

The Majestic Shipchen Monastery: A Symbol of Resilience and Sacrifice

GuideBG Glimpse

The Shipchen Monastery, also known as the “Nativity of Christ” temple monument, is a remarkable structure in the village of Shipka. It is a monument-ossuary built in memory of the Russian soldiers who lost their lives during the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation. Visitors pay homage to the fallen Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who fought bravely for their country’s freedom.

The Shipchen Monastery is a beautiful architectural masterpiece that took almost 17 years to complete. Its unique design is reminiscent of traditional Russian churches from the 17th century, with a cross-domed structure and three apses. The temple’s exterior is a stunning work of ecclesiastical art, with 17 bells ringing during various celebrations. All 17 of the temple’s bells were cast from shells collected in the battle in the Shipka area. The heaviest bell weighs 12 tons and is a daily reminder of the heroism of the fallen soldiers.

The Shipchen Monastery’s interior is equally impressive, with exquisite frescoes and an iconostasis carved from linden wood and completely gilded. Most of the icons and church utensils are a donation from the monastery “St. Panteleimon” in Athos. The monument’s interior also features 34 marble tablets outside bearing the names of the officers and militiamen who died in the battles. In addition, the temple contains 24 marble slabs engraved with the names of the Russian soldiers and Bulgarian militiamen who died fighting for Bulgaria’s freedom.

The temple monument “Nativity of Christ” was built to honor the fallen soldiers and commemorate the victories that were won around December 25. The monastic complex consists of the main church, a pilgrimage building, a monastic building, a shelter, and a Theological Seminary. The Russian government financed the construction, and the Bulgarian side provided the land free of charge. The initiative for the construction was spearheaded by Olga Skobeleva, the mother of the legendary General Mikhail Skobelev and the former Russian ambassador in Constantinople – Count Nikolai Ignatiev.

The temple monument “Nativity of Christ” is a reminder of the heroic deeds of the Russian and Bulgarian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their country’s freedom. The monument is a national tourist site and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. The Shipchen Monastery is a powerful symbol of resilience, courage, and sacrifice. It is a place where visitors can reflect on the past and honor the memory of those who fought for their country’s independence.

The Shipchen Monastery is a sight to behold and a reminder of the brave soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives for their country’s freedom. Its unique architecture and interior artistry and historical significance make it a place of inspiration and reflection. The temple monument “Nativity of Christ” is a true testament to the unwavering courage and resilience of the Russian and Bulgarian soldiers. It is a site that must be visited by everyone who seeks to pay homage to the fallen heroes who helped shape the course of history.

Embark on a journey through time and spirituality by discovering Bulgaria’s rich monastery heritage.

Essential details

Earliest cultural period:
Third Bulgarian State (1878 AD - 1946 AD)
Year of construction:
Can be seen on:
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