Park " Rila Monastery " is one of the 11 natural parks in Bulgaria's Executive Agency for Forestry.
The territory of the park covers forests, mountain meadows , alpine landscapes, high peaks and spectacular scenery as well as over 28 high mountain lakes in the heart of the Rila Mountains , making it a preferred destination for tourists. Here you can visit the tailor , botanical and eco tours and acquainted not only with rich biodiversity but also its rich cultural - historical heritage of Bulgaria .
Here is the most important monument of Bulgarian culture - Rila Monastery. Founded in the early tenth century by the hermit Ivan of s.Skrino called later St. John of Rila monastery today is the most desirable place for worship and prayer. The complex was built through several generations of prominent Bulgarian builders, painters and master carvers . In 1983 UNESCO declared the monastery a cultural monument of world importance .
Park " Rila Monastery " is characterized by features which distinguish it from all other protected areas in the country , so it is the second most visited protected area in Bulgaria .
The unique diversity of the park is at 1400 species of vascular plants, of which 49 species are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria , 202 species of vertebrates including 122 species of birds , 52 species of mammals and 2475 species of invertebrates . Tree diversity in the park is represented by more than 35 tree and shrub species and medicinal plants , 135 .
Park " Rila Monastery " is the second most visited park in the country after the Natural Park "Vitosha".
In 2007 and 2008 professionals working in NPD , have made monitoring the flow of tourists . It was made in the planning of the Nature Park "Rila Monastery " and is funded by the State Forestry Agency Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria , as part of it has been made with funds from foundations and DBU " Alfred Toepfer " - Germany .
Thanks to the information gathered during this two-year period , made a number of analyzes that are fundamental to the development of different forms of tourism within the park .
In 2007 the National Park " Rila Monastery " was visited by 793,697 units . rating: pilgrims , visitors and tourists , and in 2008 their number increased to 1,002,204 units . , showing 22.5. % increase in visitors.
The Park , a number of hiking trails with high intensity attendance , namely:
- Rila Monastery - Kirilova Polyana - Dry Lake - Kobilino reservation
- Rila Monastery - Fish Lake - Lake Smradlivoto
- Rila Monastery - Maliovitsa
- Rila Monastery - The Seven Rila Lakes
- Rila Monastery - Radovichka River - hut "Macedonia "
- International tourist route -4 Pyrenees - Alps - Olympus
All these routes are well signposted and marked with the appropriate colors from NPD .
For the curious tourists Park Directorate has established the following thematic educational route:
Dendrology route " Bachkova fountain - tomb of St Ivan Rilski" . In it you can see about 35 tree and shrub species identified in Latin, as the trees are placed plates of Bulgarian ezik.Ot prepared brochures provided by the park , you can obtain information on the characteristics of each tree or shrub species.
Trail "Path of the young environmentalist " near Kirilova meadow makes it possible to see the different types of markings that are found in the forests , species birdhouses and feeders for animals waiting to monitor the animals boards of medicinal plants information which diseases treat you.
Route " The cultural heritage of the Rila Monastery " including a visit to the largest active monastery in Bulgaria , examining the main church , the old monastery kitchen / cook-house / museum collections and the unique architecture of the internal dvor.Poseshtenie hermitage of "St. Luke the Evangelist " - which can be reached by a scenic trail passing along reserve " Rila Monastery Forest ."