The Rila area of Bulgaria hold numerous areas that hold an appeal to those looking for walking meditation, quiet solitude or a place of hermitage. Rila, thought to be of Thracian origin, means “well-watered mountain” and its connection to the lakes, streams and hot springs of the area is well known. This includes the Seven Rila Lakes. These lakes, created by glacial movement and feeding into the Dzherman River, are at elevations over 6800 feet from sea level. Sometimes frozen for eight months of the year, the connection to nature is very close.
In addition to the areas that are natural wonders and given to walking meditation and connecting with nature, the area contains the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. Saint Ivan of Rila founded the Rila Monastery in the 10th century. During its construction, Saint Ivan spent his time meditating in a nearby cave with contact only from his students who built the monastery.