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Boyana Church in Sofia - magnificent example of medieval architecture and monumental art

As you would expect for a city with such a long history, Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottoman Turks have left their architectural and historic imprint on Sofia city.
The Boyana Church, lies in one of the Sofia’s quarters- Boyana at the foot of Mt. Vitosha, and it is one of the few complete and well preserved medieval monuments which are true evidence for the significant contribution of Bulgarian wall painting to the European culture in the Middle Ages.
The Boyana Church, this fine example of Medieval architecture and unique murals, is under the auspices of UNESCO.
In this sense, the Boyana Church is a medieval church which Sofia’s visitor should explore because of its interesting frescoes and exciting signs of the Antiquity.

Similarly many mediaeval churches in the Balkans, the small and plain exterior of the Boyana Church conceals an artistic treasure.
The interior of the church include unique Bible scenes and portraits of saints, which are masterpieces of 13th century artists, whose names have not been revealed yet. What one will admit, though, is that their mastery of true depiction and sophisticated use of the variety of colours placed them alongside with the prominent Italians artists of the early Renaissance.

The Boyana Church is a small temple, consisting of two parts: the oldest dates back to the 10th century when it has served as the chapel of the Boyana Fortress.The second floor was built later on, in 1259 by the Local Ruler Kaloyan /Bulgarians called him Sevastokrator Kaloyan/ who has used the church as a family chapel. Therefore, because of his contribution, Boyana church is famous today for its unique frescoes. It is recommendable to see the portraits of the white-bearded St. John of Rila /St. Ivan Rilski/, Bulgaria’s saint, a hermit who has lived a humble life in solitude in the Rila Mountain, and portrait, depicting Kaloyan and his wife Dessislava dressed in sumptuous garments.
It is interesting to know that in spite of having been restored in various stages over the past years, the main body of the church was not open to the public until December 2006.
A visit to the Boyana church could be combined with a walk through the forests of the stunning Moutain Vitosha.

During the Middle Ages the strong Bulgarian fortress of Boyana (Batil) stood on the lower slopes of Mount Vitosha in what is now the Sofia suburb of Boyana. This name is mentioned for the firs time in 969. Boyana was one of the thirty-five fortresses and settlements, which formed the fortification systems of the city of Sredets (Sofia). The Boyana Church was build within the fortress and is a magnificent example of medieval architecture and monumental art.

Boyana Church on the map of Sofia

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