Tag Archives: Ottoman

Dryanovo: The Cradle of Freedom from Tyranny

Dryanovo monastery

Today it is so peaceful that it is hard to comprehend it was the scene of such brutality and violence inflicted on a people who only wanted freedom from 500 years of the Turkish yoke of oppression.

Entrance to Dryanovo monastery.

Bulgaria-020511This is in memory of and houses the remains of those who fought for freedom to be liberated from 500 years of the yoke of Turkish oppression.

This was a fortified monastery that played a role in the 19th century rebellion against the Islamic oppression under the Ottoman Empire. The fortification and monastery was leveled by the Ottomans.

There were 200 inside the monastery and 6000 outside but they held out for 9 days. The guide said the ongoing brutality of the Turks and this dramatic slaughter instigated a European outrage so Russia entered into a war with Turkey that freed the Bulgarians. He said the Russians were ready to take Istanbul and restore Hagia Sophia and take down the minarets and restore the cross and  Christian worship but the British said if they did such a thing they would enter into war with Russians.

Tryavna Village

The church has to be a structure with no height because this would demonstrate the superiority of Islam. And it could not look like a church but a barn or a shed construction.

Although the village of Tryavna has been inhabited since Thracian times, the village today is noted for its well-preserved neo-revival architecture. During the Ottoman occupation the locals defended the pass and so were given privileges such as no Muslims would live in the village and they could build a church under certain conditions.

The church is dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel.

The icon screen is a masterpiece in a town dedicated to carving.

To give interior height they excavated so you have to step down into the church.  The exterior in no way relates to the interior.

And today [May 24] is a special and a national holiday in Bulgaria called Alphabet Day when they commemorate Saints Cyril and Methodius who created an alphabet known today as the Cyrillic alphabet.

The entrance

The city is also known because the first secular school in Bulgaria was established there.

The school courtyard.

The clock tower.

Tryavna: a model of neo-revival architecture

Where the rebellion against the Turks was proclaimed.


The Bridge.

The cloister.

The church at Sokolski was founded in 1833 and today is an active convent.

The church is dedicated to the Assumption. As we were leaving the guide pointed out a large meadow and remarked each year on the feast or saint to which a church is dedicated people come and grill and enjoy each others’ company.

The church played a role in the April uprising against 500 years of Islamic domination. The monastery housed resisters and in fact in the Russian-Turkish war in 1877-8 it was a hospital.

Today I have come to a deeper appreciation of the Bulgarian people who have held on to their identity through 500 years living under the yoke of Islamic domination then for a brief period of freedom before 70 years of Soviet tyranny.

This is a monument to a decisive but bloody victory of the bulgarians over the Turks.  If they had won the battle today Bulgaria would be part of Turkey.

The Shipka Memorial church was dedicated in 1903 to the 14000 Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish war for Bulgarian freedom.

Gazing heavenward.

The icon screen.

The apse.