Kokalyane Monastery

The Kokalyane Monastery dedicated to Saint Archangel Michael, is also known as the Urvich monastery. It is situated amid a beautiful scenery of the Plana mountain, about 4 km away from the village of Kokalyane (in the outskirts of the city of Sofia) and some 6 km to the north-east of the village of Zheleznitsa. Originally, the Kokalyane Monastery dates back to the Second Bulgarian State. According to legends and historical documents describing the properties of the Bachkovo Monastery, it was built at the beginning of the 11th century, during the rule of Tsar Samuil. The Urvich Fortress played a major role at the end of the 14th century in Bulgaria’s resistance against the invading Ottoman Turks by guarding the road to Sredets, today’s Sofia, and is being excavated by Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov and the young archaeologist Filip Petrunov with funding from Sofia Municipality.

During the Ottoman rule, the cloister was set on fire twice. Kokalyane Monastery was completely restored only after the Liberation with a new church (1896) taking the place of the previous one ruined in 1858.

The Kokalyane church stands in the middle of the inner yard, and represents a relatively large one-nave building without a dome. Besides it, the Kokalyane complex also includes two residential buildings, two chapels, farmyards and a beautiful bell-tower, constructed in 2000. The entire complex of the Kokalyane Monastery is surrounded by a thick, two-meter high wall. A famous relic, the so-called Urvich Collection, consisting of laudatory words for Archangels Michael and Gabriel (including the one written by the famous man of letters, Kliment of Ohrid) was found in the Kokalyane monastery. In 1969, the Kokalyane Monastery was declared a monument of culture.