Скален Манастир Шашкъните

Skalen Manastir Shashkanite - Mestnost Shashkanite - Rock Monastery of Shashkunite

Useful Information

Location: Above the town Shashkanite on the rock face of an escarpment.
(43.1921, 27.4545)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Mestnost Shashkanite, 9200 Provadia
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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12th century monastery built.
13th century monastery abandoned.


Скален Манастир Шашкъните (Skalen Manastir Shashkanite) is located at a prominent location. The escarpment above Shashkanite city is quite prominent, and it has some holes in the white cliff face. This is the place where in the 12th century monks built their cave homes. 30 m above the slope in the middle of the cliff they were completely inaccessible. Its generally called a cave monastery, but there were only 10 cells, so you might also call it a group of hermitages.

There is not much information about the monastery, the cells are empty, there is no archaeological evidence and not much written information. Most likely it was a small group of religious zealots which chose this remote place to lead a life without possessions and pleasing to God. The remote location does not seem to be a retreat from prosecution, but from worldly temptations. How long the caves where inhabited is unknown, but most liekly only during the 12th and 13th century. The last cell in the upper group of cells contains a grave, where the other inhabitants were buried is unknown. And even this grave is empty for a very long time.

There are two groups of five cells. The lower group has three cells in a row and two more a little higher up, which are not connected. The upper group of five cells has also three cells and two a little higher, but they are connected by narrow tunnels. This is probably the reason why this is called the main enclosure.

Some time ago a metallic suspension bridge was built to allow visitors to reach the second group of caves. Its necessary to walk up from the town below or along the escarpment from the Ovech Fortress in the south to reach this bridge. Its still an effort to reach the monastery despite the bridge.