Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Bulgaria

The Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, as its name suggests, is aq complex of churches, chapels and monasteries that were carved out of solid rock. They are located in the village of Ivanovo, about 20 km to the south of Rousse, on the rocky cliffs, 32 meters above the Rusenski Lom river, in Bulgaria. These churches are a unique form of construction different from other religious buildings in Bulgaria, and are noted for their exquisite medieval frescoes.

The Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 3rd session of the World Heritage Committee which met in Cairo and Luxor, Egypt, on 22-26 October, 1979.

Photos of Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo

Churches of Ivanovo, Bulgaria
Churches of Ivanovo, Bulgaria
Author: Stoyan Chochkov (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Churches of Ivanovo, Bulgaria
Churches of Ivanovo, Bulgaria
Author: Denis Barthel (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Germany)

Churches of Ivanovo iconography
Churches of Ivanovo iconography
Author: Klearchos Kapoutsis (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

More about the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo

Bulgarian monks began dwelling the caves in the region from 1220. They began to hew cells, chapels and monasteries out of the rocks from the 17th century. Apparently, they received financial support from the rulers and nobles of that time, such as Ivan Alexander and Ivan Asen II, who made generous donations to the monasteries.

The rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo are famous for their 13th and 14th century frescoes. These can be seen in five of the churches. They are excellent examples of Bulgarian medieval art from that era.

Among the rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo include the St Archangel Michael Chapel, also call the Buried Church; the Baptistery; the Gospodev Dol Chapel; the St Theodore Church, also called the Demolished Church; and the Holy Mother of God Church, which is the main church of the complex. At the height of the monastery period, there were up to 40 churches, though only a small number is preserved till today.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 43 43 0 E 25 58 0
Inscription Year: 1979
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: II, III

The property is located in the village of Ivanovo, about 16 km from the town of Ruse, within the Province of Ruse. It covers an area of 171.9 hectares.

Location Map

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Visiting Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo

Your base for visiting this World Heritage Site is Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. From there, you can make the arrangement, either on your own or through a travel agency, to go to Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo. As part of the preparations, here's a list of hotels in Sofia with online booking facility.

Getting there

You can catch a train there from Sofia. Best to plan with a travel agent on possibility of a tour arrangement.

Book Hotel Rooms in Bulgaria and Worldwide

Click here also for a full list of hotels in Bulgaria or hotels worldwide. If you prefer budget accommodation in hostels, guesthouses or inns, check out hostels worldwide for budget accommodation providers with online booking.

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