Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo

At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitors can marvel at a medieval church, carved into a cliff, filled with vibrant frescoes.

Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo A Complex Secret

Beginning in the 12th century, hermits began carving cells and churches into the exposed rock faces overlooking the Rusenski Lom River. By the time of the Ottoman Empire’s conquest of Bulgaria in the late 14th century, the complex had grown to include around 40 churches among a total of around 300 cave sites. While most are not preserved today, the surviving churches are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the artistry of their medieval murals. Of the 5 remaining churches on the UNESCO list, only one is open to the public. A staircase or more meandering trail brings visitors to the ‘Buried Church’, where even after several centuries the frescoes are still clear vibrant. Here visitors have the opportunity to admire the frescoes, including the Last Supper, for their age and artistry. Please note: the Churches are open April 1 and November 30, every day, from 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.

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