A guide to FYROM’s majestic monasteries

Discover architectural treasures and traverse time with a visit to FYROM’s precious monasteries.

These monasteries are regarded as some of the most important historic artefacts in the country, helping to keep the Byzantine Orthodox history of the area alive in the modern day.

Here are just a few of the most beautiful and impressive options you might like to visit:

St. John Bigorski

Sv. Jovan Bigorski (St. John Bigorski) is dedicated to Sv. Jovan Krstitel (Saint John the Baptist).

You’ll find it tucked in the valley of the river Radika, on the road between Gostivar and Debar. Nestled in the mountain valleys of Mavrovo National Park and sheltered from the elements by the high hills of mountain Korab, the steep slopes, dense wood and rocky hills surrounding this clifftop monastery give a peaceful, alpine feel to the area.

The 19th-century monastery was built on the site of an older church, dating back to 1021. As you make your way around the mesmerising building, discover beautiful frescoes, including the huge piece crafted by three local carvers, depicting a number of biblical scenes, dusted with hundreds of tiny, yet incredibly detailed, humans and animals.

St. Archangel Michail

In the heart of Berovo you’ll find this iconic all-female monastery. Although the exact history of this beautiful structure has become decidedly clouded through the years, that only helps to add further to the mystery, shrouded in legend and dramatic happenings.

Today, it’s a relaxing place to wander, but it had a difficult start in the early 19th century. Back then, the town only had one run-down church. The locals approached their pasha requesting to build a new church which was met with impossible terms.

Church had to be built under the ground level of the nearby road, be constructed in 40 days and the daughter of the local pastor, Peco must join his harem. While the church was somehow completed within the very short timeframe, the fact that the architects failed to build below the ground angered the pasha, who went on to order three clergymen to be killed as a result.

During your visit to the church, you’ll come across a wealth of stunning artefacts, dating back centuries, and each honouring important religious figures from the past.

St. Naum

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On the shore of Lake Ohrid, you’ll find the ancient town of the same name. With more than 2,400 years of history to its name, this destination is a hot spot for beautiful churches and historic buildings. Located 29km from Ohrid you’ll find one of the oldest and richest monasteries in FYROM, St. Naum.

The monastery is situated on the southern coast of the lake near the springs of the Drim river. The original structure was built in 900 AD before being destroyed by the occupying Ottomans during the 15th century. However, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the monastery was lovingly returned to its former glory and today it stands as a beautiful, tranquil spot where you can enjoy sweeping views of the lake and surrounding scenery.

Once you’ve explored this church, wander the manicured gardens of the complex, looking out for the vibrantly cooloured peacocks who roam here. Then head down to the sandy beaches for a swim in the crystal clear, blue waters of the lake.

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St. Panteleimon

On the forested slopes of Mt. Vodno, 15 minutes from Skopje near the village of Gorno Nerezi, you’ll find the 12th century church of St Panteleimon.

This is one of the oldest and most significant monasteries of its kind in the country. It was built and painted in 1164 under the patronage of Byzantine Price Alexios Komnenos whose name is carved into the marble.

It’s treasured for its fresco paintings which convey dramatic facial expressions and emotions not often found in Byzantine art. Head inside and take the time to cast your eye over some of the most beautiful frescoes of the time.

Book a flight with flydubai to FYROM and discover this biblical country’s most precious and historic artefacts.

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