The Rila Monastery – the Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila – is the largest and most famous Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located south of the Bulgarian capital Sofia in the southwestern Rila Mountains. It is named after its founder, the hermit Ivan of Rila (876 - 946 AD).
Founded in the 10th century, the Rila Monastery is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments. It is based on the ascetic dwelling and tomb of St. Ivan of Rila, which had become a holy site after his death. It was rebuilt in the mid 19th century after being destroyed by fire.