Day 48: Rila Monastery
While Sofia can definitely be missed, Rila Monastery should not be! It would have to be one of my highlights of the trip thus far. Rila Monastery is a functioning Orthodox monastery tucked deep in the lush, green mountains a few hours south of Sofia (built there so that the Ottomans wouldn’t find it and destroy it).
The architecture of the place is fantastic: a plain stone-walled fortress on the outside with heaps of colour on the inside. All the buildings have open corridors which face the central square. The church in the middle of the square had some incredible murals covering every available surface inside and out. Unfortunately we weren’t able to look inside one of the 300 "cells" (the sleeping quarters) on the monastery – I was really curious to see how they lived!