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The Holy Trinity monastery

 

Манастир Св. Троица

The nunnery monastery of “Holy Trinity” is located 25 km south of the town of Elhovo, near the village of  Ustrem. This is the largest monastery in Strandzha and Sakar mountains. The shape of the monastery resembles an irregular trapezoid in the center of which is located the church “St. Trinity”. It was built in 1836.

 

The current church is three naves, single apse and without dome stone building. Under it is located charnel, which can be reach after go down to the stone stairs. The church iconostasis is very interesting with carved plastic elements and three rows of Renaissance icons. In the center of the iconostasis are situated the holy gates with beautiful plastic carving. The church still keeps Renaissance icons, silver chalice since 1779 and old printed books.

 

Манастир Св. Троица

During the Kardzhali riots Ustrem Monastery was seriously damaged, but at the end of the 18th century and in the early 19th century was rebuilt by Hristo Voivoda the head of the freedom rebels from Sliven, supported by Indzhe Voivoda, Kara Kolio and Valchan Voivoda. Here Hristo Voivoda became a monk and took the name Hrisant. With local people help began the renovation of the monastery and he became its abbot. In 1813. Hrisant died and was buried in the monastery. Today, at the antechamber of the church is kept his gravestone.

Every year, during the second Saturday of June traditionally is held the monastery celebrations. The monastery offers excellent conditions for rest, relax and overnight.

 

At about 500 meters on the hill above the monastery have a cave named “Vehtata Church” (the old church) and also called “Karakoliovata dupka”. It is formed naturally in the limestone rocks on the top of the hill. Down on the hill passing the little river of Manastirska. It is a cave with irregular form and multiple niches on the walls. Scientific research have shown that in X century there was a rock church measuring 8 by 6 meters. The icons are written directly on the rock but today can be seen just a few of them. Because of the erosion and human impact most of them are damaged.

 

It is assumed that the cave was inhabited since ancient times. It was a hiding place of Hristo Voivoda, Kara Kolio, Indzhe Voivoda and others. Legend tells how Kara Kolio often has hiding out in this place. In the monastery “Holy Trinity” have a hole and people still believe that it is connected with the cave up to the hill and Kara Kolio saved himself many times. The cave can be reached by a path that is narrowed in places and can be dangerous.

 

 

 

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