Unfortunately, on the Bulgarian coast there are almost no functioning monasteries and large churches. Those, that we were able to find are very small, even tiny, like churches in Nessebar, for example.
All large and interesting monasteries are located closer to the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia, many kilometers from the sea: the Bachkovo Monastery, the Rila Monastery, and many others.
The only exception to this rule is the Monastery of St. George in Pomorie, one of the most beautiful and picturesque of visited by us in Bulgaria.
The Monastery of Saint George in Pomorie – the only monastery on the coast
We have visited the Monastery of St. George in late summer. Maybe because of the end of the season, maybe because we came early in the morning, the monastery was almost empty. At that time there was a divine worship, and we decided not to disturb parishioners.
Despite the fact, that the territory of the monastery is surrounded by a high stone wall, its gates are wide open to all comers. But there is really something to see!
What we remember about the monastery? Reviews of ordinary tourists
The monastery of St. George was remembered to us by its tranquility and the beauty of insignificant details. Somewhere on a tree grow mushrooms, elsewhere a cat basks in the sun or a chicken looks for a worm.
In the monastery vegetable garden grow vegetables, especially we remember tomatoes. In a small garden you can see peaches and quinces, persimmons, apples, olives.
At the territory of the monastery, there are lots of flower beds, carefully decorated with colorful little things like carts or barrels, for example. In the middle of the monastery there is a wooden gazebo, where you can relax a bit, gather your thoughts, or, yielding to the atmosphere of this place, think about eternity.
Whatever it was, we would like to leave the most positive reviews of the monastery – this place remembered to us like very beautiful and picturesque. We would advise to visit the Monastery of St. George to our friends, but would suggest to come here not on an excursion, but on their own, to see the monastery without crowds of tourists.
What caught our eye: in the monastery work both men and women, there is a dining, a church school for children and even a hotel for a small fee for pilgrims.
In the hotel you can also live for free, if you follow the rules of the monastery and do the job entrusted to you by the abbot. By the way, he speaks not only Bulgarian, but also Russian, English and German.
The shrines of St. George Monastery
The main shrine of the monastery is considered to be a healing spring of St. George, according to the legend giving healing of serious illnesses.
Also in the church of the monastery is kept a miraculous icon of St. George, and above the entrance hangs the same low-relief, about which is said in the legend about the foundation of this place (at the end of the article).
Monastery church was built around an ancient temple of the beginning of XIX century, and as the base were used ancient Roman bases – once here was also a temple.
A museum in the Monastery of St. George
Walking through the territory of the monastery, we came across a small museum. A monk, who was passing by, turned on the light and invited us to go inside.
By itself, the museum is quite tiny – just one room. Here you can see exhibits from the life of the monastery: church vestments and utensils, printed and handwritten books, household items and even ancient base of the Byzantine era, at which the monastery was constructed.
Visiting the monastery museum is completely free of charge, but at the entrance there are bowls for donations.
The monastery shop. What can you buy in a monastery?
At the monastery there is a small souvenir shop. In addition to different religious and tourist little things here you can buy honey, wine and rakia (Balkan vodka), produced monks. During a season sometimes also sell fruits and vegetables.
Photos of St. George Monastery
No any warm words can convey the beauty of the monastery, like some good photos.
Please note, that on our website every picture is signed. You can learn a little more about what is shown, when you hover the cursor or click on any photo.
We recommend: a selection of the best photos of Bulgaria
How to get to the monastery of St. George?
The monastery of St. George is located in the new part of Pomorie – a fairly average popular Bulgarian resort, very quiet, peaceful and beautiful.
It is not difficult to find the monastery – you can even ask the locals, they will always help you. Next to the monastery are located a large park and a summer theater, it will be as a guideline for you.
Going to the monastery by public transport
It is not difficult to get to the monastery of St. George’s by public transport:
- If you travel from the north (Nessebar or Sunny Beach) – you need to take any bus to Pomorie or Burgas (almost all buses to Burgas go through Pomorie);
- If you travel from the south (from Burgas to Sozopol) – choose a bus to Nessebar or Sunny Beach.
- If you do not know how to get to Pomorie, please ask freely in comments – we will try to help you.
A ticket will cost you on average 3 – 3.5 levs, that is not expensive, in our opinion. Especially, when compared with the price of a taxi, which is more expensive in about 20 times.
A visit to the monastery during an excursion
The monastery of St. George is often visited during excursions to Sozopol, Ropotamo and Ravadinovo Castle. By themselves, excursions in Bulgaria are quite expensive. You can visit the Botanical Garden in Balchik or Nessebar, on your own, which is much cheaper (2-3 times). But to visit the remotest corners of the country, such as Ravadinovo (the castle in love with the wind) or Ropotamo, you can only during paid excursions or by a rented car.
Personally, we recommend you to buy excursions from the locals, and not from large tour operators. The price will be exactly the same, but the approach is really personal – you can adjust a route depending on your preferences, and will travel by car, and not by a large bus.
The Legend of St. George Monastery in Bulgaria
All articles about this place, for some reason, begin with the legend about its foundation. We will make an exception and finish our article with this legend.
It is said, that many years ago, when Bulgaria was under the rule of the Turks, the whole territory of Pomorie was belonging to mighty Selim Bey. And this nobleman was incurably ill. History has not preserved the details of his illness, but it is thought, that Selim Bey was blind and spent many years in darkness.
Only during sleep he could again see the world as bright and colorful, as in days of his childhood. Once he had a dream, that at his lands, which he had never seen, but somehow recognized at once, there is a holy spring, which gives healing …
The dream was repeated until Selim Bey had found this place. Under a thin layer of soil was discovered a bas-relief depicting St. George, and when the stone slab was pushed back, the healing spring began to flow from there. After drinking water from it and returning the eyesight newly, Great Bay was baptized and ordered to found a monastery in this place.
A few years after his wife’s death, he became the abbot of the monastery to protect the Orthodox shrine…
Interesting articles about other sights of Bulgaria:
- What to see in Pomorie – our list of attractions
- The most interesting sights of Bulgaria. What to see quickly and easily?
- Churches in Nessebar. Where they are, what they are famous for and how they look?
- Independent tourism or excursions? Let’s make a decision together!
- What to see in Bulgaria – our selection
- Ancient Nessebar – one of the most beautiful cities of Bulgaria
- The Botanical Garden in Balchik – the most interesting sight of Bulgaria
- Prices and a schedule of excursions around Bulgaria in 2016