Cherepish Monastery

History links the name of a renowned Bulgarian saint Sophronius of Vratsa with the Cherepish Monastery, dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin. Likewise all other Bulgarian monasteries, this one also rises above a river – the Iskar River, with the original church built during the rule of tsar Ivan Shishman (1371-1393), fully surrounded by wonderful cliffs hiding hundreds of caves. The Cherepish Monastery is located near the village of Ljutibrod, 10 km away from the town of Mezdra and 25 km to the south of Vratsa, some 90 km north of Sofia, in one of the most picturesque spots of the meanders of the Iskar River.

Present day church of the Cherepish Monastery was erected in the 17th century on remains of original church – that was several times destroyed and set on fire – by renown Bulgarian Pimen Zograf of Sofia. During the period of Bulgarian Revival, the Cherepish Monastery was inhabited by men of letters and calligraphers who have left valuable works and literary masterpieces. Thus, the Cherepish Monastery gradually has become an important literary, cultural and educational center. Over the centuries, men of letters, translators and calligraphers made their home in the Cherepish monastery. Those have left us with such valuable works as the Cherepish Gospel of the 16th century, bound in 1512 with gold cover and depicting scriptural and Biblical scenes; the Gospel of the Monk Danail, Jacob’s Book of Apostles (both dating from the 17th century), and the Margarit collection of sermons and precepts compiled by Priest Todor of Vratsa in 1762. The approximate date of the Cherepish monastery’s establishment is certified in wilting: a deed recorded between 1390 and 1396 is kept today at Sofia’s Church Historical and Archaeological Museum. Some of the murals in the old Cherepish church were probably painted around the mid 19th century by Tryavna artists, but these are now badly damaged. The loss is somewhat compensated for by the skillfully carved iconostasis and bishop’s throne.

The Cherepish Monastery offers food and accommodation. The monastery’s dining hall, the so-called magernitsa, is open to guests and offers traditional monastery meals and Bulgarian cuisine. The Cherepish Monastery offers food and accommodation to visitors for highly affordable costs. Ritlite is a natural landmark, situated on an area of 123 hectares on the left bank of the Iskar river above the Lyutibrod village. It consists of four almost parallel upright walls, 200 meters long, and a railway line passes beneath them. Remains of old fortified walls are visible along the peaks. The settlement of Korintgrad, called Koritengrad by the locals, was situated east from the rocks. Remains of more than nine medieval Bulgarian churches have been found in the region. Among them is an early Christian basilica from the 5th – 6th centuries. The best preserved one is the Saint George” church dating back to the 10th – 12th century.