The Lopushna Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner (Lopushanski manastir „Sveti Yoan Predtecha“) is situated where once there was another monastery that was built during the Second Bulgarian Empire and destroyed completely later on during the Ottoman invasion. Until the restoration of the monastery in the middle of the 19th century there has been no data of its activities.
It was just through the period of 1850 – 1853 when the Lopushna Monastery was restored by the monks from Chiprovtsi – Dionysius, Gerasimus and Gideon. During these three years a large part of the complex was built, including the church, the residential premises, the yard gates, the fences and the garden drinking fountain. The buildings and facilities are works of Master Lilo, the founder of one of the most important building schools of the Bulgarian national revival – the Slavine school.
During the Bulgarian national revival the Lopushna Monastery was one of the centres of national liberation struggles and the church struggles in the region a small monastery school was also organized therein.
The Lopushna Monastery is known as one of the favourite places of Ivan Vazov. During his stay here he wrote part of his novel “Under the Yoke”.
The monastery was reconstructed in 1989, when the north wing pending collapse was repaired. The main merits of the repairs made, are to be taken by the then hegumen (abbot) Archimandrite Amvrosiy. During his service the monastery acquired a new residential building with two beautiful carved wood verandas. The entire complex of the Lopushna Monastery consists of a church, residential and farm buildings and white stone drinking fountain built in 1856, all surrounded by a stone wall.
The Lopoushna church is a three nave building, with two lateral chapels attached to each side of the church dedicated to the Saints Cosmas and Damian and to St. John the Baptist. There are three central domes and two above the lateral chapels, all located on high octahedral drums.
Bas-reliefs with figures of men, animals and individual chapters were carved in the stone construction of the church. The temple is not painted, but has one of the most beautiful altar iconostases in northern Bulgaria, the work of Stoicho Fandakov, the master of the Samokov art school. Eight icons, work of Stanislav Nikola Dospevski are added to the images of the apostles in the main iconostasis.
How to get there?
The Lopushna Monastery is located in the Chiprovtsi section of the Balkan Mountain at an altitude of 300 m in the valley of Dalgodelska Ogosta River. It is located between the villages Pomezhdin, Melyane and Georgi Damyanovo.
You can reach Lopushna Monastery by car, if you drive on the road between Montana and Chiprovtsi and follow the interchange to the village of Georgi Damyanovo. The Monastery is situated about 20 km. of Montana, 30 km. from Berkovitsa and 55 km. west of Vratsa.
The tourist route Georgi Damyanovo – Lopushna Monastery offers more emotions, since you can combine a visit to one of the nearby tourist hostels “Kopren”, “Kom”, “Montana”, “Kozloduiski Briag.”
If you feel that the walk to the monastery was enough for you – you can stay overnight in the two-storey residential wing, which has a restaurant – cook house and 16 rooms for guests.
Contacts: phone 359 95 58578, 359 887 397 301, 359 888 405 043