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Kouklen Monastery

This monastery is also famous by the name the “Holy Healers” Monastery. Situated in the heights over the village of Kouklen, right of the Plovdiv-Assenovgrad road (15 km south of Plovdiv), the St.St.Kozma and Damian Monastery has been famous ever since the reign of Tsar Ivan Alexander mainly for the literary school there, its cultural influence and the waters of the holy spring that cure mental disorders. The monastery shares the fate of devastation by the Christians-turned-Muslims in 1657. In that time, some 33 monasteries and 218 churches located in the area between the towns of Kostenets and Stanimaka (the old name of Assenovgrad) got destroyed.

Reconstructed in the beginning of 18th century by subsidies of patriotic people from the Plovdiv region, the monastery turned into a major cultural centre - a school, which gave education to grammarians, calligraphers and transcribers, such as priest Annanij, Krastju the Grammarian and priest Sider. The Kouklen psalm book, written by the will of Tsar Ivan Alexander in 1337 as a panegyric of the tsar, had been preserved here for decades on end.

Most valuable is the church wall-painting. Best preserved is the image of Archangel Michael in the southern bay. The harmony of the soft muted colouring, the classic purity of the images and the refinement of their graceful construction can be dated not later than 16th century.

The Kouklen Monastery The Kouklen Monastery
The Kouklen Monastery
The Kouklen MonasteryThe Kouklen monastery St.St.Kozma and Damian is hidden in a pretty valley 12km south of Plovdiv, near the village of Kouklen. It was built in 12th century by the Georgian brothers Grigorij and Abbasij Bakuriani - the same who built the Bachkovo Moonastery.  
The south wing The south wing
The south wing
The south wingThe south wing of the monastery with the main entrance.
The Kouklen Monastery The Kouklen Monastery
The Kouklen Monastery
The Kouklen MonasteryThe entrance of the monastery, leading to the old St.St.Kozma and Damian Church (in the background).
The Holy Spring The Holy Spring
The Holy Spring
The Holy SpringThe Holy Spring, famous for its healing abilities, with the icon of St.St.Kozma and Damian above.
The Kouklen Monastery The Kouklen Monastery
The Kouklen Monastery
The Kouklen MonasteryThe monastery courtyard.
The old church The old church
The old church
The old churchGeneral view of the ancient St.St. Kozma and Damian Church, built in late 9th century. 
The Holy Brothers icon The Holy Brothers icon
The Holy Brothers icon
The icon of the Holy BrothersThe icon of the St. Brothers Kozma and Damian, also popular as the Holy Healers. They were famous for their abilities to cure people. Their lives are full of miraculous stories of healing hopeless cases… They never took a penny for what they did to people. The Holy Saints have two feast days – July 1st and November 1st, respectively. According to the tradition, women are not supposed to work that day, otherwise a member of the family could fall ill. The only thing they are allowed to do is to make bread, which they give away to neighbours and relatives for health to come..
The healing chain The healing chain
The healing chain
The healing chainThe healing chain in the narthex of the church dating from ancient times. It was used for healing insane people and for exorcising evil spirits. The sick person was hold in the chain for the night, and he was believed to be cured in the morning…
The churchyard fountain The churchyard fountain
The churchyard fountain
The churchyard fountainThe churchyard fountain, rich in bronze ornaments, built in 1951 in honour of Kiril, the Metropolitan of Plovdiv.