08-Oct-2005 -- As it was one of the last sunny Saturdays this autumn, we decided to make a short trip out of town. Our goal was to visit the confluence and then the nearby located Arapovski (Arapovo) Monastery.
The confluence is pretty easy to get to. It is located somewhat 400 meters (440 yards) East of a paved road connecting the nearby villages of Stoevo and Zlatovruh (Zlatovruh's past name has been Arapovo, hence the name of the monastery). Between the road and the confluence there is a field of arable land which is not hard to cross if it hadn't been raining recently. You may use as a path the tracks tractors left at the edge of the field.
A little drawback is the small dung-hill where the track begins, but that's no problem. Going by the arable field you now face annother small field of grass and thorns, but nothing too scary. Thorns are small and not nasty at all. All they do is stick to your shoe laces. Then you have to go around a bunch of trees, down a small ditch to another grass field and there it is - the confluence standing right there at the very outset of the grass field.
That's it. Take your pictures and celebrate. By all means pay a visit to the Monastery St. Nedelya and the nearby holy spring. The monastery is about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) NNW of the confluence (exact location 42° 01' 11.5" N 024° 59' 36.2" E). Continue on the paved road to the Zlatovruh village and then in the very outskirts of the village turning left is a dirt road about 500 meters (550 yards) leading to the gate of the monastery. Some words about the monastery.
The Arapovo Monastery, is the only Bulgarian monastery built not in a secured mountain spot but in an open valley. It is the only monastery built during the Ottoman rule. The monastery's full name is St. Martyr Nedelya. It was built in 1856. In 1859 a school opens gates in the monastery. The monastery is remarkable with the mural paintings in the church, and in the chapel at the holy spring, made by the talented Bulgarian Revival period artists George Danchov and Alexi Atanassov.
The master-painters depicted scenes of the life of Cyril and Methodius, the creators of the Slavonic alphabet, which are unique for the Bulgarian school of painting: the creation of the Slavonic letters, the adoption of Christianity by Knyaz (prince) Boris I and the enlightenment of the Bulgarian people. There are remarkable scenes of the death and the burial of St. St. Cyril and Methodius, as well as images of various Bulgarian saints. There are also many historical scenes depicting peasants in national costumes.
In the southern corner of the Monastery yard, a stone tower with a beautiful bow-window top floor is erected. The tower was used as a lodging and a watch-tower, and was build by the order of the legendary haidouk Angel Voivode a widely-known defender of the people at the time of the Ottoman yoke.
The holy spring is not far from the monastery building. The fountain in it is one of the most interesting monastery stone fountains. Its front side is made of five big stone blocks: one as a cornice, two on the sideways and two forming the body structure of the fountain with figures and pictures in relief. There are five polished cypress trees, cut down above the spout, and above them we find the forms of two lions standing opposite one another with a cross between them.
The monastery has special historical value, because a local secret revolutionary committee was founded here. It was led by the monastery abbot himself - father Gevrasii.
If you have the time visit the nearby town af Assenovgrad and the regional center city of Plovdiv, whose history date back to the 7th millenium BC.