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UNESCO World Heritage Site: Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo

Rusenski Lom National Park


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From Cherven we moved on to a UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo! They are within a gorge inside the Rusenski Lom National Park, only a few miles from Cherven. Only the main church was open. It was set very high within a cliff - from the ground, we could see only a balcony. The path/ steps up to it was round the back of the outcrop.

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The interior of the church was very small, but the walls were covered in medieval frescoes. One outer wall of the church had been replaced with wood - apparently the rock on that side has collapsed in either the 6th or the 16th century. It felt so strange being inside a place that had been literally carved out of solid rock!

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Once we emerged from there, we walked on to another lookout point. On the way there we stopped to investigate some other caves you had to climb up into.

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Once we arrived at the lookout point - on the other end of the outcrop - we stopped to take in the fabulous view of hills, forest, valley and river.

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The sun still beat down. We heard a lot of goose- or duck-like sounds coming from the valley floor far below us - 'F' said that it was actually frogs making these noises! Apparently they are deceptively small considering the amount of noise they make.

There are other churches within the cliffs further along the valley, but the man in the main church had told us that they weren't open. We considered walking along the valley to the first one just to check, but then 'F' said that there was a rock monastery in Basarbovo, a village to the north, which would almost certainly be open. Instead of walking to the original one and risking that being closed and then it being past closing time for the other, we descended into the valley and back round to the car park to continue on to Basarbovo.

Posted by 3Traveller 12:14 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged art sisters bulgaria explorations orthodox_church unesco_world_heritage_site cave_system

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