Boyana Church owes its world fame to the frescoes from 1259. They form a second layer over the paintings from the earlier centuries. In all, there are 240 depictions on the walls. Its painter is still anonymous, but stands for the team that decorated the church and that was trained in the studios of the Turnove Art School.
A total of 18 scenes in the narthex depict the Life of St. Nicholas. The painter here drew certain aspects of contemporary lifestyle. In The Miracle at Sea the ship and the sailor's hats recall the Venetian fleet. Also most interesting are the full-size paintings of the donors, Kaloyan and Dessilsava, and of the Bulgarian King Konstantin Assen Tih and Queen Irina. Kaloyan holds a model of the church and presents it to St. Nicholas.
The architecture of Boyana Church dates from late 10th and early 11th century. It's the eastern part of the current building, which also sees additions from mid-13th century and mid-19th century.
Visit May 2004
Boyana Church can be found in a residential neighbourhood on the outskirts of Sofia. My taxi-driver didn't know its location, but after asking some directions we safely arrived there.
The little church is hidden in a lovely park. I had to wait there some time before I was able to buy a ticket, and later before I was allowed to get into the church (because of its small size, only small groups can go in at the same time).
The inside of the church is the reason to go here. All its walls are covered with frescoes. Dark blue is the main colour, and the paintings are now in good repair.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
Visited in June and the church was still closed for conservation apparently.
Be careful in getting taxis from the train station. I thought I got a bargain on the way there, only to be charged half the price on the way back (different taxi)!
| Date posted: August 2008|
This church has the most incredible frescos I've ever seen.
A site not to be missed. Very small. Easy to get to by bus or taxi from downtown Sofia.
When visiting Boyana church unfortunately half of the interior of the church was covered by scaffolding as the church was undergoing a complete and long overdue renovation. There are however many of similar churches in southeast Europe, it wasn't really obvious why this particular was chosen as a WH. If however that lead to the recent preservation activities, it was all worthwile.
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