Postcards from Sofia

Day 7: The Monastery


The monastery at Rila is a two-hour bus ride south of Sofia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is truly magnificent. It attracts tourists from all over the world, most of who, like myself, get off the bus, pick up their cameras and start snapping photos. You can see the tourists walking around, compulsively taking photos until they become exhausted. But taking pictures, no matter how many, does not begin to capture the experience of being there. Eventually you put the camera down and lapse into a kind of cultural stupor.

It was while I was in this stupor that I noticed the faithful, who came to the monastery to remember the departed, to get an icon blessed or to fill bottles with water from the holy spring. It was for these people that the priests were on site (not just for enforcing the many rules, which include no wearing of shorts, skirts, or tank tops inside the church). It seemed to me that the faithful were the only ones who could truly value the experience and that the rest of us would go home with uninspired photographs of a spiritual structure that none of us could really apprehend.



Kris Rothstein's Blog
Kris Rothstein

VIFF 2019: MODES 1

A collection of experimental short films encourages immersion in image and sound.
Geist news

Winners of the 15th Annual Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest!

Announcing the winners of the 15th Annual Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest!
Michael Hayward's Blog
Michael Hayward

VIFF 2019: "Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom"

A young Bhutanese teacher, wrestling with his commitment to that career, is sent to the remote Himalayan village of Lunana, to fulfill the final year of his contract.