The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, famously known as the Rila Monastery, is the nation’s largest and most well-known Eastern Orthodox monastery. It served as a center for Bulgarian culture, history, art, and religion under the Ottoman rule. Today, it is a sacred place that continues to embody the spirit of the local people. In fact, in1983, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Rila Monastery a World Heritage Site. The Rila Monastery sits nearly 1150 meters above sea level in the Nature Park of the southwestern Rila Mountains.