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Ivanovo Rock Monastery was established in the twenties of 13th century by the monk Yakim who together with his students has built the first rock church at that place. The old church and the rest of the churches in the area form the Rock Monastery “St. Michael the Archangel”. Therefore, the rock monastery is completely different from the other monasteries in Bulgaria. The traditional monastery complex consists of 1-2 churches and a residential building, whereas the Ivanovo cloister represents a network of small churches, chapels and monks cells hewn into the rocks.
During the whole period of Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the monastery had developed strong relationships with the kings of Tarnovo. As a result, famous monastery-donors were the kings Ivan Assen II, Ivan Alexander and many other representatives of royal families whose portraits are still preserved nowadays. Even one of Bulgarian kings, George-Tervel (1280-1292) has decided to spend the end of his life in one of the monastery’s cells where the death found him. His tomb is situated on the third floor of the so-called “The Baptism room”.