The whole complex emraces an area of 8,800 km² and is rectangular in form, centred around the inner yard (3,200 km²), where the tower and the main church are situated.
The main church of the monastery was erected in the middle of the 18th century. Its architect is Petar Ivanovich, who worked on it from 1834 to 1837. The church has 5 domes, three altars and two side chapels, while one of the most precious items inside is the gold-plated iconostasis, famous for its wood-carving, whose creation took 5 years to 4 handicraftsmen. The frescoes, finished in 1846, are the work of many masters from Bansko, Samokov and Razlog, including the famous brothers Zahari Zograf and Dimitar Zograf. The church is also a home to many valuable icons, dating from the 14th to the 19th century.
The four-story (not counting the basement) residential part of the complex consists of 300 chambers, 4 chapels, an abbot's room, a kitchen (noted for its uncommonly large vessels), a library, housing 250 manuscripts and 9000 old printed matters, and a donor's room. The exterior of the complex, with its high walls of stone and little windows, resembles a fortress more than a monastery.
The museum of the Rila Monastery is particularly famous for Rafail's Cross, a wooden cross made from a whole piece of wood (81 х 43 cm). It was whittled down by a monk named Rafail using fine burins and magnifying lenses to recreate 104 religious scenes and 650 miniature figures. Work on this piece of art lasted not less than 12 years before it was completed in 1802, when the monk lost his sight.