The Ministry of culture allocated almost 20 000 euro for the restoration of the wall paintings in the renowned Preobrazhenski Monastery. The frescoes take up 14 sqm and are to be restored for the first time since 1915. They were painted by Zahari Zograf between 1849 and 1851; the artist is considered the most famous Bulgarian painter of the Bulgarian National Revival period and is widely known for his icons and church mural paintings. The monastery was founded in the 14 century but it was completely destroyed during the Ottoman rule. In 1832 the Turkish Sultan gave his permission for a new church to be built in the place of the old monastery. Kolyo Ficheto (the most notable master builder of that time) completed the church in 1834.
The Preobrazhenski monastery or the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration of God is an Eastern Orthodox monastery located near the village of Samovodene, seven kilometres north of Veliko Tarnovo. It is the biggest one in Veliko Tarnovo region and the fourth largest in Bulgaria and thousands of visitors flock each year to see. Among the more notable murals of Zahari Zograf are those of the Last Judgement, the Birth of the Mother of God, the Last Supper and the Wheel of Life which is painted on the outside of the church and is depicting a sophisticated contemplation on the transience of human life. An interesting fact is that the Wheel of Life was featured on Bulgarian 100 leva notes which are now out of circulation.
If you are looking for a nice place to spend some of your weekends you should visit this area of great beauty and serenity. You can go there by car taking the road leading to Ruse (turn off after 6 km) or if you are into hiking you may consider going on foot as an option (it’s an hour and a half away).