The Bachkovo Monastery “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” is located in the village of Bachkovo. It is  the second largest Bulgarian monastery, after the Rila Monastery. Far before the monastery was established, there was a Thracian sanctuary and a village nearby.

The monastery was established in 1083 by a Georgian, Grigorius Bakuriani during the rule of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. At that time the region was part of the Bysantine Empire and belonged to Grigorius. Its co-founder is the brother of Grigorius, Abasius, no longer alive at that time, but yet, contributing with money and assets to its establishment.

At the end of the XII and the beginning of XII siècle the church “St.Archangels’’ (Holy Archangels) was built, connected with the monastic sells. It is believed, that after Bulgaria is occupied by the Ottomans at the end of the XIV, the last Bulgarian patriarch, Euthymius, was exiled here.

Construction of new monastery buildings starts at the end of the XVI siècle, when, supposedly, the East wing was built. In 1601 the Southern wing was reconstructed, where the large refectory with a waste marble table was built. The year of reconstruction was written on it. The Northern wall of the refectory has a mural with a scene from the Monastery life – the bringing out of the miraculous icon, painted in 1864.  In 1604 the main church, The Dormition of the Mother of God was built, three- aisled, cruciform domed basilica with three pentagonal apses and a dome.

In 1833 the main yard was enlarged and new buildings were constructed. During the period 1834 – 1837 a third church, consecrated to St. Nicolas was built and painted by Zachary Zograph, the popular Bulgarian icon painter, whose murals were painted during the period of 1838 – 1840 and in 1841 he also painted the entrance of the St. Archangels church.

The main church keeps the miraculous Virgin Mary icon, encrusted with silver and painted in 1311. Many other artifacts, silver encrusted New Testaments and other pieces of art, dating back to XVI – XIX S. can be seen here. A well-preserved is the wood carved part of the covered in gold icon-holder and the tsar’s entrance. The main church is a burial place of the Bulgarian Exarch Stefan I (1878 - 1957) and Patriarch Cyril (1901 - 1971). A museum, attached to the church, keeps the oldest objects and items, related to its history.

Every year, at the second day of Easter, the nearby site ‘Kluviata’, southeast of the Monastery, hosts a village assembly, bringing together the most prominent local families. Honoring the patron of the Bachkovo Monastery – Mary, the mother of God, laymans move the miraculous icon of the Holy Mother from the temple, to the rocks of the Kluviata, while worshiping it. It is believed that its passage brings health to God’s children.  

Bachkovo Monstarey is listed in the 100 Tourist Sites in Bulgaria with number 47.2