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Restoration of the monastery “St. John the Precursor”

Restoration of the medieval monastery “St. John the Precursor”

On the right bank of the Arda river, high above the waters in the Veselchane neighbourhood of Kardzhali, are the remains of a unique medieval monastery known as the monastery of St. John the Precursor. The ruins were discovered in the 1930-s by local history lovers and members of the archaeological association Ustra. According to the most recent studies, the monastery was founded in the 9-10 century and is of Athonite type. It is supposed to have been turned into a bishop’s residence in the 11 century and later into the metropolitan bishop’s residence.
The restoration of the magnificent monastery comprising a church, a bishop’s residence, a chapel, monk cells and a dining-room, surrounded by robust stone walls and towers, started in 1994. “The restoration of the monastery was possible thanks to the support of the European Commission on Cultural Values in Brussels, hundreds of donors – patriots, organizations and banks, and the substantial financial support of the Future for Bulgaria Foundation”, prof. Stefan Stamov wrote in the book “The Medieval Monastery St. John the Precursor”. The restored monastery was opened and dedicated on the 23 September 2000 by the metropolitan bishop Arseniy together with Boyan Saraev and many other priests.