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Kuklen Monastery “St.St. Kosma and Damyan”

The Kuklen Monastery “St.St. Kozma and Damyan” is situated about 2,5 km to the southwest of the village of Kuklen in the Chernatitsa part of the Western Rhodopes Mountain, 8km to the west of Assenovgrad and about 15km south of Plovdiv city. The Kuklen Monastery was established during the Second Bulgarian State and it was mentioned in the 11th century in a document describing the properties of the Bachkovo Monastery. Evidence for the cultural influence of the monastery was found in the end of 17th century-beginning of 18th century. It is believed that the monastery was named after the saint bothers Kozma and Damyan for their curative capabilities. The monastery emerged as a religious cloister around a spring of curable waters and according to the legend, it cures mental disorders. In the 17th century the Kuklen Monastery was a major cultural centre which contributed to the education of grammarians, calligraphers and transcribers, such as the priest Annanii, Krustju the Grammarian, the priest Avram Dimitriev, the teacher Evstatii, the priest Sider and many more. During the Ottoman Rule the Kuklen Monastery was protected by Turkish rulers because of their families who have been cured in the monastery. It has also survived during the time when Christians have been turned into Muslims in 1657. At that period 33 monasteries and 218 churches in the area between the town of Kostenets and Stanimaka (nowadays Assenovgrad) have been completely devastated. During the Bulgarian Revival period a monks’ school has been housed in the Kuklen Monastery. In the end of 18th and the beginning of 19th century, the monastery fell into the hands of Greek monks who painted out Bulgarian murals and made on them inscriptions in Greek. Therefore, upon renovation of the church, two layers of frescoes have been found. The Kuklen Monastery has been preserved in its authentic condition until the 20ties of 20th century after that consecutively the half of the northern and the whole southern wings were completely burnt. Nowadays the western wing and parts of northern are still preserved. http://www.bulgariamonasteries.com/en/kuklen_monastery.html
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