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In existence as early as in the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, it was subsequently
destroyed and re-built on two occasions. It was restored in its present
location - in the Dryanovo River gorge, 4 km away from the town of Dryanovo
- in 1845. During the 1876 April Uprising an armed detachment of 200
men who, pursued by the enemy, found shelter behind the walls of Dryanovo
Monastery. Throughout nine days, they engaged in fierce battle before
being crushed: the insurgents and monks were killed, the monastery burned
to the ground. Relics of the April epopee are preserved in the monastery
museum today, along with some valuable icons.
Popular Name: Dryanovo Monastery
Orthodox Name: St. Archangel Michael
Region: Veliko Tarnovo
Location: The historical Dryanovo monastery, St Archangel Michael, is situated about 4km away from Dryanovo in the picturesque gorge of the Dryanovo river where limestone rocks rise high on all sides of the gorge as inapproachable forest walls.
History and general info: It is believed that the first monastery in this place was founded some 2km to the north of the present-day buildings, in an area called The Little St Archangel. Its founders were two rebel boyars of the then-capital city of Turnovo –the Assen and Petar brothers. In the 14th century, the holy place was one of the main centres of Hesychasm and sheltered many monks. At the beginning of the 15th century, the monastery was destroyed by the invading Ottoman troops. Later on, it was reconstructed on a neighbouring site, known as the Big St Archangel, but the fate of this monastery was no happier than that of its predecessor. The Dryanovo monastery was restored anew at the end of the 17th century, this time in its present-day place. The main church of that time had a single nave and was half-hidden in the ground. It was standing very near to the present-day church; besides it, there was also a secondary shrine.
The renovation of the monastery was started at the time of father Rafail, during the 40es of the 19th century. The current residential buildings rising from the side of the river were built at that time, while the new church was finished in 1845. Gradually, the renovated Dryanovo monastery became a religious and cultural centre and one of the largest and well-kept cloisters in the region of Turnovo.
Dryanovo monks took active part in the Bulgarians’ uprisings and plots against the Ottoman rule. One of the main quarters of the Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee in Turnovo was located exactly in the monastery and famous rebel leaders such as Vassil Levski and Georgi Izmirliev were often to be found there. There was a secret storeroom for food and arms, which was the reason why rebel leaders Priest Hariton and Bacho Kiro used the monastery as their fortress at the time of the April uprising. Only a small number of the Bulgarian rebels survived the battle with the Turkish troops, while the monastery was again set on fire with the church being the only building that is left relatively intact. The most recent reconstruction of the complex was carried out shortly after the Liberation. A new residential part and a museum were added to the existing buildings. The bell-tower was erected in 1925.
Accommodation and food: The Dryanovo monastery offers accommodation in cosy double and triple rooms. A few restraurants with good cousines are scattered in the immediate neighbourhood of the monastery.
Transport: The monastery is easy to reach by car, driving down the main road from the twon of Veliko Turnovo to Gabrovo. The offroad to the monastery starts about 2km after one exits the town opf Dryanovo.