Karlukovo Monastery

The monastery is situated near village of Karlukovo, only 8 km away west of Lukovit, in the canyon of Iskar River. The year of foundation is unknown. During XV century the monastery is plundered and ruined to the ground by the Turks. It was rebuilt in the end of XVI -the beginning of XVII century, but shortly after it was destroyed once again and abandoned. The monastery was rebuilt in 1834 by St. Chalakov from Plovdiv. Today, the only witness of the ancient monastery is the old chapel “Uspenie Bogorodichno”. It was built in the second half of XVI century as a part of the monastery complex.

In that area there were plenty of Thracian and Roman temples. According to the legends the place possesses healing powers. That is why many monks form far ends of the country had sought cure behind its walls.

In the very entrance of the church’s east wall are painted the saints brothers Damian and Kozma - protectorsofallhealers.

Half dug into the ground, the church is built of stones and its inner part has semi-cylindrical stone vault. It’s a single nave, single apse and a sanctuary. The arch entrance has been built later. Columns, foundations and heads are made from roughly shaped stones. The span roof is covered by single-outfall tiles. The floor is covered with stone tiles, the walls and arches are covered with murals.

The building’s condition is good. Since the liturgies have stopped, it was the end of its maintenance. Humidity, seeping through the foundations, ruins the murals up to 1.5 m height. The stone tiles are in good condition, although there are parts of it, destroyed by treasure hunters. Only the frame and parts of the plating have left of what is to be iconostasis. Gates, icons and wood carvings have been stolen, and the stone throne is the only remaining of the sanctuary.

Lukovit Municipality has a project for emergency maintenance and restoration of the chapel, as well as for its murals, recognized asa national culture monument.

The chapel is opened for visitors, yet the only restrictions are related to its location, it’s in the yard of a clinic for mental diseases.

The local administration is looking for funding in order to secure free entrance for visitors, and to provide accommodation possibilities in the area.

One of the most spectacular nature sites near by is the “Prohodna” cave. On the opposite side of the river there are two rock monasteries which have preserved murals, dated back in XIV century. There is another rock monastery, “St Grigorii”, 5-6 km away, where can be seen partly preserved murals from XIV and XVII centuries.