Rila Mountain is in southern Bulgaria, part of the Rila-Rhodopes massif. The highest peak of Rila – Musala, with its 2925 meters is the highest on the Balkan Peninsula. In Europe, the Rila Mountain ranks sixth spot after high mountains Caucasus, the Alps, Sierra Nevada, the Pyrenees and Mount Etna. From the mountain spring the rivers Iskar, Maritsa and Mesta. It is believed that the name “Rila” comes from Thracian. First called Mountain Donuka, Dunaks, Dounaks, so the Romans called it Mons Donukas and later Roula or Rila Mountains which means many – water mountain. The name is not accidental – in the Rila there are to 200 ponds and numerous springs in fault zones Sapareva Banya, Dolna Banya, Kostenets Bath and others. Along the ridge of Rila, Bulgarian chief passes watershed that coincides with the chief Balkan watershed, dividing the basins of the Black and Aegean seas.
The Rila monastery was founded in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilski, in the upper reaches of the Rila River. It is one of the most important cultural monuments in Bulgaria and its symbol included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Rila Monastery is one of 100 landmarks in Bulgaria. The current Monastery is located near the village Pastra – near the site of its original foundation. Along it, runs the Rila river. This is the largest monastery in Bulgaria – 5 floors and only 4 of them are visible. This feature of the building is due to restrictions imposed by the Ottoman authorities in 1834 when the present buildings were constructed.The museum lies in the ground floor.