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Macedonia - Cultural Tourism - Churches & Monasteries - Post Byzantine
Church of Holy Salvation

The remarkable little church half way under ground level was built in the beginning of the 17th or 18th century, on the foundation of some older church. On the south side, the discovered a fresco- painting of the old church which originates from 16th century. In contrast to the exterior of the church, immediately after entering the church, the wooden iconostases 10 meter wide and 6 meter high present you with a breath-taking beautiful sight. The master piece of the famous Mijaks craftsmen Petre Filipovski and Makarie Frchkovski represents a great achievement in carving, not only within the borders of Macedonia. The screen consists of many scenes from the Bible, geometrical ornaments and details of flora and fauna.


Church St. Dimitrija

The sound of the bells resounds through the air and flutters the soul. It rejoices to the new lives and mourns about those that passed by. It rejoices and cries. It echoes as a century-old vein of the city. Partly dug in the ground this church is a witness of the wit and cleverness of our masters. If we could only look back through history, and if we could unravel the secrets of the past we will come to a lot of surprises. The bells dominating in that vast courtyard with its sounds calls us to enter. Walking slowly, stepping into that vast yard that is revealed in front of our eyes, we will see a massive, but simple, stone building. The year 1830, when this church was built, is not only a chronological sign but a part of the eternity. It is not only an empty content, because not even a single human moment, day or year can never be empty. They are filled with joy and happiness, with pain and suffering, with life and death. Entering through one of the entrances of the glass porch we will smell the incense and candles lightened by the trembling hands of the believers. Praying for the health and happiness or honoring the deceased, they stop only for a moment, and enter some other world. Only in this temple, in this manner you can feel the God’s peace. Built on the place of a former “chapel” that burned down, with special approval according to the Sultan’s documents, it was rebuilt again. But no matter all the desires to build a tall and magnificent building, according to the Turkish law it wasn’t supposed to be taller than the previous one. So, to dig the church into the ground was the best way to respect the law, and to achieve their goal at the same time. Built, in only four months with donations from the Christians of Bitola, no matter what their ethnic belonging, this temple rises from the ashes and became a place where all the believers could freely address the God. Numerous craftsmen: tailors, shop owners, tavern owners, slipper makers, goldsmiths and others, each of them according to their own possibilities, but unselfishly, helped in the building of this holy temple. Its internal richness will unfold in front of us as soon as we step down the stairs, descending about 1m dug in, tree arched basilica. Then before our eyes a huge room is revealed where you can hear the God’s Word. Two rows of massive pillars, six on each side, separate the church into three parts. The central part is the biggest one. The central part is arched, and its endings rest on the two rows of pillars. The floor galleries and all the church mobiliar give a special beauty to this temple. Thinking about the luxury and sensing the incense, in front of us we can see three altars, tall and magnificent. The central altar is dedicated to St. Demetrius, the southern one to the Annunciation and the northern one to St. Nicolas. The whole iconostasis is made in gold plate, carved by the skilful hands of the, for now unknown, woodcarving group of craftsmen, that surely consisted of Macedonian masters. How many grape ivies and leaves are plaited to create this magic? It embraces the numerous icons that tell the story of Christianity. The lions, keepers of the temple, are following the ancient semantics, and looking from the magnificent iconostasis in each of us, they pour in appreciation before this beauty.


St. Joakim Osogovski

It is located on the slopes of the Osogovo Mountains, near Kriva Palanka. According to some stories its founder was Joakim Osogovski, an anchorite who lived in the XI century. It is also possible that it was built after his death. In the records of his life it was written that during the Byzantine Emperor Manojlo Omnen /1143 - 1180/, a priest Theodore from Ovce Pole, after entering the monastic order and being given the monastic name of Theofan, founded the monastery. He later became its first prior and built a church dedicated to Joakim Osogovski, where he buried the hermit's ashes. In the historic sources the monastery is first mentioned during the Bulgarian Tzar Kalojan /1196 - 1207/, who visited it. In the "Karlovac Chronicle" there is a record that around 1305 King Milutin built a church dedicated to St. Joakim, yet maybe he only renovated it. It is believed that one of the renovators was also K. Dejanovich Dragas. In 1330, before the battle of Velbuzd with the Bulgarian Tzar Sisman, Stefan Dechanski visited the monastery to say his prayers before St. Joakim's relics. There is also a record of it in 1350. In 1436, on his way to conquer Bosnia, the Turkish Sultan Mehmed II came to the monastery. In the second half of the XV century, the monastery sought support from the Republic of Dubrovnik. On 19th December 1474, the Republic of Dubrovnik's Council endowed it 20 perperi (the then golden money). In 1489 the prior of the monastery was Arsenie. In the Sarajevo Museum the monastery's chronicles for 1463, 1487, 1491, and 1492 are kept. In the monastery the book "The Life of Grigorie Omiritski" was written, probably in 15 - 16 century. In 1585 the monastery was destroyed during an earthquake. Throughout the XVII century it was economically sound and had well developed monastic life. At the end of a hand-written Gospel, there is a signature of a Patriarch Arsenie, who noted that he visited the monastery in 1686. In 1690 the Turks ruined it. Also around the mid-XVIII century it was in a bad shape. It will revive in the mid-XIX century, i.e. in 1847 when, initiated by Hadzi Stefan Beglikchija from Kriva Palanka, the construction of a large cathedral church of St. Jovan Osogovski started. It was finished and consecrated in 1851.


Saint Pantelejmon Church Veles

Saint Pantelejmon church of Veles is lLocated high on a hill south of Veles, amidst the graves of a local cemetery, is the Church of St. Pantelejmon. The inside is very beautiful, and the caretaker is very proud of the church!
The church is famous for its magnificent acoustics, which is the result of the use of pottery and eggshells incorporated in the stucco. Several modifications were made in 1847 and 1849. It's known as "Macedonian Scalla di Milan.


St. Georg Victorious Monastery – Rajchica

The monastery is located in the village Rajchica and the church is dedicated to St. George the Victorious (Gjorgjija Pobedonosec).
In this all-female monastery, from the 11th century, a piece of the cross of Jesus is kept and a small part of the hand of St. John (Sveti Jovan).
The monastery complex was recently rebuilt.


Church of the Holy mother of God (Novo Selo - Shtip)

The church of the Holy Mother of God is one of the architectural masterpieces of the well-known Macedonian constructor Andrea Damjanov. It has the shape of a basilica, with a three-nave disposition and an interesting design of the roof with three different layers. The interior is wide and decorated with floral motifs and animal figures. The iconostasis and the baldachin are carved. According to the sign over the south entrance, the temple was renovated in 1850.
The people of Shtip talk about the building of the church by the Damjanovi brothers. It took 31 years to build. The material was brought by oxen and the outside columns were made and processed by hand.
A gallery of rare icons was formed on the second floor of the church. Today, there is a male and female altar, because nuns used to live in the church. The church has a hiding place where Goce Delcev used to hide. In the walls of the church there are two more hiding places where 30 other men used to hide. There was a tunnel under the throne of the archbishop that led from the church to the houses in the village. This is how they escaped from the Turks.


Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery

The Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery is located in the surroundings of Rostushe village very close to Debar. The monastery church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist (Saint John the Forerunner).
The Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery complex is comprised of monastery church, ossuary located next to the church, the seymen defense tower, and complex of monastery mansions as well as the newly built guest mansion.
The Bigorski church most probably is built on the foundations of an older basilica from the 11th century, more precisely from 1021. This is written in the icon-painters record. There is a great probability that the icon of Sveti Jovan Preteca (St. John Forerunner) was painted the same year when the old church was built and fresco-painted.
According to the monastery's 1833 chronicle, it was built in 1020 by Archbishop Jovan. The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the 16th century. The Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, who also built several monk cells. Later, in the period from 1812 to 1825 the monastery was expanded by archimandrite Arsenius.
One of the most valuable treasures of the Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery is the iconostasis created by Petre Filipovski - Garkata and Makarie Frckovski, which is done in tiny woodcarving. They did not miss to present in woodcarving their own figures through the scene of the master in contemplation and his associates while working. This scene is present at the iconostasis in both churches where these masters worked.
The Bigorski monastery ambient is redeemed with the old mansions with the spacious wooden balconies and the dining room furnished with authentic furniture from the time of construction, late 17th and early 19th century. The special guest mansions offer possibility to each of the visitors, under certain conditions, to stay longer and to enjoy the marvelous sunrise of this heavenly site.


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