Restoration of ancient monasteries in Bulgaria with Wood-Mizer sawmills

Monday, October 4, 2021

Restoration of ancient monasteries in Bulgaria with Wood-Mizer sawmills

The Orthodox Monastery Varovitets in Etropole, Bulgaria, emerged in 1158 and turned into a treasury of spiritual knowledge in the Middle Ages where monks copied liturgical books. With the help of two Wood-Mizer sawmills, the monastery is currently being restored with the exact preservation of its authentic architecture. 

The abbot Emil Yakimov, who has been in charge of the restoration since 2003, says: "First of all, we started to repair the temple. It turned out that we had to replace the roof completely. It was difficult; it took a lot of timber material. The monastery owns 4,000 hectares of forest, so there is wood, but it was necessary to make many boards of different sizes from it." 

In 2008, Emil Yakimov learned about Wood-Mizer sawmills and decided that the monastery had to purchase an LT40 sawmill. 

"With the help of this machine, we started sawing logs from our forest and were able to repair the roof of the temple. Then, we repaired roofs and floors in all buildings," says the abbot Emil Yakimov. 

One of the benefits of Wood-Mizer sawmills is that the mill can be transported by mountain roads in order to saw wood anywhere - even in the forest. The sawmills cut boards from a log with great precision and at the same time save wood since narrow bandsaw blades make a kerf of 2 mm thick, and as a result, produces more boards and less sawdust from every log. 

The architecture of the Varovitets monastery is very unusual. During the restoration, it was essential to preserve the appearance of the temple as it was for centuries. 

"The church, in the form which it exists today, was built in just two years in 1858-1860. At that time, Bulgaria was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and history says that the Turkish Sultan's daughter fell ill. After visiting Varovitets monastery, she recovered. In gratitude, the Sultan issued a "firman" - permission to build a church. We keep this document in the monastery." 

A family company of the Veleganov brothers, which has been engaged in the bell craft for more than 200 years for several generations, made new bells for the belfry. Artists from the workshop of the famous Bulgarian painter Sasho Rangelov decorated the temple's interior with magnificent wall paintings. This work took about four years. 

Now the former monastery cells are being rebuilt into guest rooms. 

"They remain the same size as cells, but we have added the necessary amenities - shower and toilet - in every room." Pilgrims have the opportunity to stay for several days at the Varovitets monastery. 

Wood for construction is sawn and then air-dried. The restoration is still in progress. 

"We are very pleased with the progress of the restoration work, so we bought another Wood-Mizer sawmill. Now the timber that we produce with these two machines is used to restore other churches and monasteries in Bulgaria. For example, we made the timber for a monastery in Lovech that has existed since the ninth century. The church was destroyed, but today it is rebuilt with timber materials made with our Wood-Mizer sawmills," says the abbot Emil Yakimov.




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