According to official data, the monastery was founded in the XIV century, during the reign of Tsar Ivan Shishman. This is also confirmed by the preserved Typikon (Statute of the monastery) of 1390, which can be seen today in the ChurchHistoryMuseum in Sofia. This early document, however, led many researchers to suggest that the monastery has existed since the beginning of the Second Bulgarian Empire (the beginning of XII century).
During the Ottoman rule the monastery was repeatedly plundered and burnt down. In the XVII century it was restored by the famous writer and icon painter St. Pimen Zografski. Information about this is contained in the life of the saint and in Paisiy’s “Slavonic – Bulgarian History”. During the Bulgarian National Revival Period the monastery was a centre of Christianity and the Bulgarian literature. Banished from the massacres of Alyo Pasha St. Sophronius of Vratsa found refuge in the “Holy Mother’s Assumption” in 1798-1799. In the period of the national liberation struggles 1872 – 1876, the monastery was visited repeatedly by members of the Revolutionary Committee and the Central Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee of Vratsa. Near the monastery is the locality called Cherepishki Rashov Dol where was the last battle of Botev’s group of rebels.
After the liberation from the Ottoman rule the monastery was visited repeatedly by Ivan Vazov, who mentioned it in the story “A Bulgarian woman.” In 1897 after visiting the monastery Aleko Konstantinov wrote his travelogue “In the Bulgarian Switzerland”.
“Indeed it is really nice, oh God, how beautiful is this Cherepish monastery! The curves of the murmuring Iskar River, squeezed on one side by the green and blooming forested hills teeming with nightingales, and on the other pressed by the suspended giant rocks in different colours and shapes, dotted with caves, which nest the monastery herds (…). ”
Remains of ancient Christian churches have been found in the surrounding areas, and recently a major part of the monastery was renovated and restored.
The numerous and picturesque buildings of the monastery leave a strong impression, most of them were built around 1836 by father superior Joseph. Among them is the “St. George” church, which has retained its original architecture of XVII century.
The temple is a single-nave building with a spacious single apse entrance, open gallery and a pointed dome. Among the attractions of the inner decoration is an iconostasis with fine woodcarvings and shroud from 1844. The Cherepish Monastery was declared a cultural monument of national importance. From 1950 to 1990 the Sofia Seminary was moved to Cherepish in the immediate vicinity of the monastery.
How to get there?
The Monastery “Holy Mother’s Assumption” lies among the majestic cliffs of the Iskar River gorge on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountain. The monastery is located 25 km south of Vratsa, 10 km northwest of Mezdra near the village Lyutibrod. If you live in Sofia and have a car, you can take the E79 route in Mezdra direction and en route to explore the beautiful Iskar River gorge. If you prefer to travel by train, you should board the train to Mezdra and get off at the small stop Cherepish. In case you’ve missed it, you can get off also at Lyutibrod stop. Please be reminded that visitors of the monastery should be dressed appropriately.
After a major renovation in 2006 the Cherepish monastery now offers accommodation and food.
telephone for contacts and booking: 0899 037 020