Monastery of the Transfiguration of God

October 20, 2014 • 8:45 am

Today we visited a famous monastery near Tarnovo (itself 2.5 hours from Sofia): the Monastery of the Transfiguration of God, reportedly dating to the 14th century. No monks were evident (the place seems to be undergoing a renovation).  Located in the woods up on a mountain, it was very peaceful, and I got a special treat, as you’ll see in the last photo.


I’m told the escarpment on the mountains, as you see above, is a special geological formation, but I’m not sure what it is or how it’s formed. The entire mountain range surrounding Tarnovo has a normal vegetated top, and then a layer of rock like the one above, and then the vegetation resumes Perhaps a reader can tell us how this happens.

This is where the monks live:


I believe this is the refectory:


It’s fall, and I like this picture:


And the best part: the monastery had kittens—friendly ones. They followed us around, and I got to pet them and, finally, carry them around with me (one at a time). They were friendly and purred, unlike most of the feral street cats of Tarnovo (more pictures to come). I named these Fyodor and Lev, though I didn’t know their sexes.



38 thoughts on “Monastery of the Transfiguration of God

    1. Looks a bit like the Weiße Jura, but bedded horizontally instead of strongly tilted as it’s mostly seen around the Alps (but most like the lovely bits along the eastern Côte d’Azur?). But for all I know the limestone might be a completely different age (e.g., most Australian karst is in Palaeozoic lst).

  1. Judging by the black helicopter closing in behind you, it appears that one of those two has clearly revealed your location. I’m guessing the one on your left shoulder.

  2. What I have found so far about the Tarnovo geology is they are formations that run through the late Permian –> Triassic. They are (or were?) under lots of tectonic stresses so there are (or were?) lots of geological fault lines. What I see is pretty technical, and I barely understand i so I could be wrong here.

  3. Beautiful place! It’s a shame modern architecture so frequently goes for the minimalist aesthetic rather than the baroque. Yes, there’s much to be said for the sweeping lines of the Sydney Opera House or the like…but there’s also so much to be said for something with so many layers of detail upon detail upon detail.

    And we seriously need to hook you up with a forevercat, Jerry….


          1. But they are only a tasteful part of the bigger landscape. If trees, grass, houses, rocks, fences, gardens all looked like hummingbirds, it would be distracting.

          2. You’re in BC, right? If you can tolerate US Customs these days, just over the border in Spokane’s Manito Park they’ve got a formal gardens in the style of the famous French palatial ones. Visit them in spring when everything’s going gangbusters and you’ll change your tune….


          3. Ah…well…Canada’a not that big, eh? I mean, there’s only three provinces between Ontario and BC, right? Practically next door!


          4. Come to think of it…in the same sense that we’re primates and mammals and fish, I suppose we’re also worms, so that name isn’t all that inaccurate. But it’s a fun song, regardless.


          5. Yeah, Canada’s a tiny place. Just 1000 km or so between igloos…We sometimes drive through Spokane on our way to Whistler so thanks for the tip.

          6. Spokane’s really a lovely town, and the pride of place is rightfully Manito Park. There’s the formal gardens, but there’s also the spectacular greenhouse just to the north, and a rose garden that gives the one in Golden Gate Park a run for the money, and also a wonderful Japanese formal garden. Definitely worth spending the day there.


      1. I once explained carefully to a German aristocrat, who happened to be head of the institute where I was a guest, that the Australian-English translation of ‘Barok’ (in architecture) was ‘kitsch’.

  4. What cute kitties! There was a cat that followed people everywhere at a place where I used to get organic meat. The cat would meow and wanted to be patted & picked up. Of course I did that, then got itchy.

  5. Their tails almost completely blend into Professor CCs (whose shadow resembles a ninja in mottled camouflage) black sweater except for the tips impishly curling against the grassy background.

    And what Ben said. 🙂

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