Rousse Regional Museum of History
"All that I experienced afterwards had already been in Roustchouk". Elias Canetti

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The “St. Archangel Michael” rock monastery-laura at the village of Ivanovo is located in the Rousse Lom river valley. It has been established in the 20’s of the 13th century by the monk Yoakim, who later became a Bulgarian Patriarch. Its donators are the Tzars Ivan Asen (1218-1241), Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) and other representatives of the Bulgarian Royal Court, with their ktitor’s portraits being preserved. The monastery has a complex structure and unites several complexes of rock-hewn premises. The frescoes are preserved in six of its temples, revealing the typical characteristics of the Bulgarian art during the 13th and the 14th century. During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (12th-14th century) the monastery strengthened as a major spiritual and literary center, with whose activity is associated the so-called “Visarionov Paterik” (Visarion’s Paterikon). On the walls of the monastery’s premises are seen graffiti and inscriptions that contain important historical evidence.

The frescoes of the “St. Virgin Mary” Church are world famous, and they are ranked among the most representative examples of the Palaiologian Art in the Balkans. Their high artistic characteristics are the reason for them to be listed as a World Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. In the 14th century the monastery became a center of Hesychasm. It existed during the early centuries of Ottoman rule, but gradually declined.


In 1978 the monastery was declared a National Archaeological Reserve.