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Plakovski Monastery Bulgaria
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Plakovski Monastery
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Plakovski Monastery

Plakovski Monastery - Elenski Balkan

The Plakovski Monastery is situated at the north foot of the Elenski Balkan near the village of Plakovo, about 14km away from the town of Veliko Turnovo.

Transport:
The road to the Plakovo Monastery is to the south of Veliko Turnovo as it has an offroad at the town of Kilifarevo. The village of Plakovo lies 5km away from there, whereas the monastery itself is 2km further down the road from the village.

History of the monastery:
The Plakovo Monastery St. Prophet Iliya was established during the reign of the tsar Ivan Alexander II. Initially it has been located a few kilometers away from the present day cloister where an old ancient church still can be seen. The monastery was erected on its present place in the middle of the 13th century and similarly to most monasteries in the Veliko Turnovo region, dating back to this period; it was destroyed during the Ottoman invasion.

The Plakovski Monastery was reconstructed in 1450, but afterwards it was repeatedly set on fire and plundered. Neophite Bozveli has visited the monastery twice and in 1794 he considered with the monks how they can prepare themselves and send out teachers and priests in the country. Sofrnoii Vrachanski used to have come in the Plakovski Monastery and soon afterwards he has become a father superior of the neighbor Kapinovo Monastery. However, he left his book Kiriakodromion (Nedelnik) as a gift to the monks in the Plakovo Monastery.

In 1835, the Plakovski monastery hosted the famous Velcho’s Plot, as one of the leaders of anti-Ottoman plot being the ex-abbot of the monastery, Father Sergey. After the plot had been suppressed by the Ottoman troops, the monastery was destroyed.

The renovation of the Plakovski Monastery began in 1845 during the period of the abbot Sofronii. The old church was torn down and the present monastery’s temple St. Iliya was built on its place. The name of the builder is still unknown, but it is believed that it was created by the famous Bulgarian master Kolyo Ficheto who soon after in 1856 constructed also the residential wing of the monastery and the belltower. At that time a secret exit, leading from the church to the forest, was dug by the monks. Later on such a secret way out was made from the monastery’s kitchen. In fact, those underground exits were used by the Apostle of Freedom, Vassil Levski when he was pursued by the Turkish raiders.

Unfortunately, due to a fire in 1949, most of the residential buildings in the Plakovski Monastery were burnt to ashes.

Architecture and present condition:
Nowadays the Plakovski Monastery is operational. The monastery acquired its present condition after 1845 when the monastery church, residential buildings and the belltower were built.

The only one fresco with inscriptions from the church-donors, Ascension of Prophet Iliya above the entrance and below the open narthex, was painted by an unknown artist. An extraordinary unpolished iconostasis with unique wood-carvings is kept in the church. The church keeps also valuable icons painted by the prominent artist Zahari Zograf.

The two-storey residential buildings and the 26m high church tower are of great interest for every visitor of the Plakovski Monastery. Both of them were created by Kolyo Ficheto. Telephone number of the monastery:+ 359/International dialling code for Bulgaria

Accommodation:
Food and accommodation are not available in the Plakovski Monastery. However, there is a rich choice of restaurants and hotels in close proximity to the monastery in the town of Veliko Turnovo.

Places of interest in the region:
The architectural and historical reserve Tsarevets is situated 14 km away from the Plakovski Monastery.

The Plakovski Monastery St. Prophet Iliya is located about 18 km south from Veliko Tarnovo, near the villages of Plakovo and Velchev , two kilometers away from Kapinovski monastery St. Nicholas. According to the legend it was built during the Second Bulgarian State, within the rule of tsar Assen.

Like many Bulgarian monasteries and this was destroyed after the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule, but later (1450) was restored. At the time of its existence after the monastery was plundered and burned many times (1595, 1706, 1794).

The Plakovski monastery is related with the national liberation struggles of Bulgaria. In 1835 here have conducted a series of secret meetings known as Velchova Zavera (Velchova Conspiracy) aimed at organizing a liberation uprising. Unfortunately, the organization fails because a betrayal, the participants were killed and the monastery destroyed again. Today, about the events reminds a large marble slab, placed below the monastery bell, on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the events.
There is an inscription on it:
Glory to the heroes gathered a hundred years ago and died for the freedom of his nation: Velcho Atanasoff Djamdjia from V.Tarnovo, Ivanaki Yonkov Kurkchiyata from Vratsa, Father Hadji Sergey, abbot of the monastery St. Elijah, Nikola Gaytandzhiyata from V.Tarnovo, the master Dimitar from Sofia, Hadji Jordan Bradata from Elena, teacher Andon Nikopit from Macedonia and many other patriots, led by captain George Mamarchev from Kotel, inspirer and organizer of the zaverata. Bulgarian National Committee, Sofia, Easter, 1935

Restoration of Plakovski monastery began in 1845 when there was built the church St. Elijah which is constructed in the so-called Athonite style, typical to the period of the Second Bulgarian State. Church has dimensions of 19 x 7,5 m, with one nave, one apse, six massive columns with capitals and an open, vaulted narthex. In 1865 the great Bulgarian builder Kolyu Ficheto built a magnificent 26-meter bell-tower with a beautiful decorative masonry, a stone fountain and residential buildings. The residential buildings were destroyed by fire in 1949.

In the monastery are preserved old manuscripts and early printed books and an icon by the master Zachary Zograf.

Nowadays the Plakovski monastery is declared a Monument of culture.