Ten kilometers southeast of Troyan, in the northern foot of the Troyan part of the Stara Planina Mountain, stands the largest monastery in that mountain – the Troyan Stavropighial Monastery “The Assumption of the Holy Mother”. Ever since its creation in the 17 c. the monastery has been among the most precious Christian and cultural spots in Bulgaria.
The annals of the monastery, dated 1835, give the following information: “The opening of the monastery took place many years after the fall of Bulgarian Kingdom. A monk came, Bulgarian by origin, but his name was unknown. He came, with his only pupil, from unknown region and made the mountain wilderness his home. He created a simple dwelling here and lived in it quite some time, and became known to the simple people in that area…” The story tells how the small dwelling turned into the third largest monastery in Bulgaria.
About the year 1785, Paisii Hilendarski was an abbot in that monastery for 32 years. The monastery has developed ever since, always being a centre of serious cultural and revolutionary activities. Eminent men of letters, such as Spiridon, Rouvim, Manassius, Kalinik, Pinaret, Yossif Sokolski, the teacher Todor Pirdopski worked here in an attempt to resurrect and spread Bulgarian language and history. Troyan Monastery always was a shelter of revolutionaries – on January 20th, 1872, Vassil Levski organized a secret revolutionary monk committee here, led by the abbot Macarius; when the April Uprising broke out, the monastery hosted a secret command post for the revolutionary leaders Panayot Volov, Georgi Ikonomov and Toma Hitrov. The cell where they had discussed revolutionary issues has been authentically preserved.
The murals of the Troyan Monastery are truly remarkable. In 1847, the monks invited one of the most eminent Revival period artists, Zachary Zograph from Samokov, to do the murals of the newly-built church “Assumption of the Holy Mother”. His murals are covering all the inner walls of the church and its gallery of the western and the northern part. The miraculous icon “The Three-Handed Holy Mother” is currently placed in that church. Once a year, on the church’s feast day of August 15th, the icon is being taken out to a ceremonial parade to the adjacent chapel.