Troyan Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, village of Oreshak
Troyan Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the third largest sanctuary in Bulgaria, is situated at the northern foothills of the Balkan Mountains, near the village of Oreshak, on the banks of Cherni Osam River (eng: Black Osam). It is considered that the establishment of the cloister was preceded by the foundation of a small wooden church at the beginning of the 17th century.
Defying the common notion that monasteries are generally secluded and quiet, this has always been a bustling place – there was a church school, icon-painting and manuscript workshops; Vasil Levski himself was repeatedly offered sanctuary here and he managed to create secret revolutionary committees not only in the monastery, but also in the town of Troyan. At present, both his hiding place and his secret way out of the monastery remain untouched. The former hiding place was transformed into a museum and you can see it for yourself.
Over the years of the Ottoman rule, the complex had been ravaged, plundered and had practically been on the brink of collapse. It was rebuilt and expanded with the impressive church of the "Assumption of Mary” in 1835. Zahari Zograf himself frescoed the church walls as many of the biblical scenes were rarely depicted before that. The magnificent gilded iconostasis is visually arresting, too. Crafted in 1839, it consists of skillfully done religious themes and elaborately depicted characters woven together into a genuine masterpiece. The church was proclaimed a monument of culture due to its historical and cultural significance.
Troyan Monastery has a rich collection of applied art, craft goods and examples of Tryavna Icon-Painting School. The miraculous and legendary icon of “St. Mary Troeruchitsa” (eng: the Three-handed Virgin Mary) is among them.