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Troyan
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Boyana
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Pazardzik
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Plovdiv
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Rila
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Bachkovo
Monastery
John Osborne
lectures: bulgaria



Europe's Best Kept Secret - The Painted Monasteries of Bulgaria

(Lecture or Study Day)

Bulgaria's Orthodox monasteries are part of a rich and varied cultural history which deserves to be better known.

The country's well-preserved mediaeval monasteries are part of the Orthodox tradition of religious art and architecture in SE Europe that stems from Byzantium. They also have their own local, regional characteristics.

The lecture illustrates fascinating developments in fresco and icon painting, in particular, and emphasizes the religious significance of the decorative features of these churches.

These monasteries are described in the context of Bulgaria's forested mountain landscapes and its long and interesting history, so that the lecture includes prehistoric Thracian tombs, public buildings from the Roman period and vernacular architecture from the Ottoman period - beautifully conserved in Bulgaria's towns and villages to the present day.

This lecture should suit both those who are interested in religious art and those who appreciate a broad cultural and historical background.


Recommended Reading:

Apart from guidebooks, there are very few books about Bulgaria in English which are both in print and available here.

Guidebooks:

  • Three guides to Bulgaria are particularly recommended, viz the Bradt guide, the Dorling Kindersley (Eyewitness Travel) guide and The Rough Guide.

History:

  • Richard Crampton - A Concise History of Bulgaria (Cambridge)
  • Richard Crampton - Bulgaria (Oxford)
  • Mark Mazower - The Balkans (Phoenix)

Art:

  • Robin Cormack - Icons (British Museum)

Contemporary Bulgaria:

  • Jack Hamilton - The Good Balkans (Wildman)



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