Voskopoje Things to Do

  • Kisha Shën Nikola
    Kisha Shën Nikola
    by JLBG
  • Kisha “Fjetja e Shën Marisë”, a few paintings
    Kisha “Fjetja e Shën Marisë”, a few...
    by JLBG
  • The door is locked
    The door is locked
    by JLBG

Most Recent Things to Do in Voskopoje

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    Kisha e Kryeengjëjve Mihal dhe Gabriel

    by JLBG Updated Jun 16, 2011

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    I do not usually report on VT about something I have not seen but there is no map of Moskopojë (or at least I did not found any) and this report might help other travellers not to miss Kisha e Kryeengjëjve Mihal dhe Gabriel

    Here is the transcript of the post standing on the main square of Voskopojë :
    Kisha e Kryeengjëjve Mihal dhe Gabriel (Church of the Archangels Michal and Gabriel) is called short as the church of “Shën Mëhilli”. The Church it was part of a building complex, where it was also the church of St. piridon, the church of St. Barbara and some other service buildings around, or joined to the North wall of the naos. From all this complex of Archangels Michal and Gabriel only its naos and narthex has preserved to our days. The arcade was a few years later addition to the naos, but it was ruined by the earthquake pf 1960. The church belong to the basilica type covered with vaults and cupolas presenting a valuable interest for the characteristics of architectural elements described as more archaic in comparison to other basilicas in Voskopia. The church is thought to have been built in 1696. It is painted in 1722 by an anonymous painter, which is considered to be as one of the most excellent painters of that period.

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    Kisha e Profet Ilias

    by JLBG Written Jun 16, 2011

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    I do not usually report on VT about something I have not seen but there is no map of Moskopojë (or at least I did not found any) and this report might help other travellers not to miss Kisha e Profet iIias.

    Here is the transcript of the post standing on the main square of Voskopojë.
    Kisha e Profet Ilias (Church of Prophet Elias) is built in 1751 near the old caravan’s road connecting Voskopoia with Berat. The basilica of Prophet Elias is the last basilica built during the flourishing period of Voskopia and it belongs to a type of basilica differing from the one which was built until that time in the city. The basilica of Prophet Elias stands more faithful to the classical model of basilica and it has a wood roof. Nevertheless it was never painted its interior still gives high impressions as well as its exterior in a domination position on the expanded landscape. The nartex was at the West of the naos and the arcade at the South, both ruined by the earthquake of 1960. The older buildings inside the courtyard of the church were fenced by high stone walls, where the bell-tower had the main access.

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    Kisha Shën Nikola

    by JLBG Updated Jun 16, 2011

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    Kisha Sh��n Nikola
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    Kisha Shën Nikola, better known as Kisha Shën Kolli (Church of St. Nicholas) stands almost in the center of Voskopojë, connected to the main square by Rruga Shën Kolli (St Nicholas street). Same as Shën Marisë, the bell-tower is separated from the church itself and the entrance is through the basement of the tower. But, unlike Shën Marisë, it was open !

    Photo 1 : the apse and in the background the bell-tower

    Photo 2 and 3 : the entrance into the yard. Let us have a look at the sign posted on the right of the entrance (next photo)

    Photo 4 : the sign is a reproduction of an engraving showing Voskopojë in 1742. It is impressive !

    Here is the transcript of the post standing on the main square of Voskopojë :

    Kisha Shën Nikola
    The Church of St. Nicola is the only basilica covered with vaults and cupolas in Voskopoia, which preserves all architectural elements of the type: the naos, nartex, arcade and the bell-tower. Naos was built from June 1721 to September 1722. The bell tower which stands to day is made in 1936; A church of St. Efthimius, now ruined, was part of St. Nicola’s complex. The interior of the Church of St. Nicola is painted in 1726 by the greatest master of 18th c. Balkans paintings, David from Selenitsa. The style of David’s paintings belongs to the traditional Paleologean art school, or as is usually called – the Macedonian school. Arcade of this church is painted in the year 1750 by the well known brothers Constantine and Athanas from Korcha, nicknamed “Zography” (painters – Gr). Here they have represented for the second time a full cycle of Apocalypse (first time they have presented this cycle in 1745 at the arcade of St. Athanasius church in Voskopia). Icons of the templon (iconostasis) are painted during the years 1755-26 by Constantine Ieromonomachos, who was one of the greatest masters of 18th c. icon making. David specifies him as his companion in this church.

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    The door is locked

    by JLBG Updated Jun 16, 2011

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    The door is locked
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    On the wooden door, a post says : “Kisha e Shën Marisë Monument Kulture mbrohet nga shtet”, which means that it is a state protected cultural monument. I guess it is no more used as a church but has not been yet organized for visits. Too bad ! May be it is possible on appointment. I must enquire.

    Here is the transcript of the post standing on the main square of Voskopojë :

    Kisha katedrale “Fjetja e Shën Marisë”
    The Cathedral Church”the Dormition of theVirgin” is the largest church in Voskopoia and it was the cathedral church of the city. Once there was the residency of the temporarily stay of the metropolitans inside the courtyard. There was also a chapel of the Saints Cosma and Damain. Another chapel dedicated to Saint Marina was joined to the north wall of the cathedral. Only naoos and the bell-tower (built in 1887) is still standing today, because the nartex in the west and the arcade in the south are ruined. The cathedral church ”the Dormition of theVirgin” was built around the year 1699 and it presents a perfect combination of the basilicas plan with the space covering the vaults, forming a very special type of basilica for its time. The church is painted in 1712 by three painters, Theodor, Anagnost and Sterian from Agrapha in Greece. The Acathist hymn, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, has the main place in the iconographic program. This cycle is made by 24 scenes, one for each strophe of the hymne. The big icons of the iconostasis are painted in the year 1703 by Constantine Ieromonachos, one of the best icon-painters of the beginning of the 18th c.

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    Manastiri I Shën Joan Pararendësit, the church

    by JLBG Updated Jun 16, 2011

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    Manastiri I Sh��n Joan Pararend��sit, the church
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    Photo 1 : the church is small and is undergoing repairs. We could visit the inside and admire the numerous paintings but could not take any photography.

    Photo 2 is a close up on the side of the church

    Photo 3 shows a building standing in the inner yard, in front of the entrance of the church. It is in good condition and seems to be used. It bears a carved poster reading : “Dhurate nga familja Dulaku dhe Gron”

    Here is the transcript of the post standing on the main square of Voskopojë :

    Manastiri I Shën Joan Pararendësit (Prodhromit)
    The Monastery of St. John the Forerunner (Prodhomios) is founded in 14 th c. and during the flourishing period of Voskopia in the 17th and 18th centuries, it became one of the most powerful economical and ecclesiastical supports of Ohrid Archbishopric. The church of this monastery is built in 1632 as an Athonit type (three conchs), cross-in-square plan with a dome supported on a high drum. The interior was decorated with paintings in 1659. The narthex of the church was built and painted at the end of the 17th c., or the beginning of the 18th c. The buildings around the church and the church itself were heavily damaged by the Nazi’s bombs during the World War II.

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    Kisha e Shën Athanasit

    by JLBG Updated Jun 16, 2011

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    Kisha e Sh��n Athanasit
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    Kisha e Shën Athanasit stands not far from Kisha Shën Premtës, on another hill, on the other side of the gully.

    Photo 1 shows a general view of the hill
    Photo 2 shows Kisha Shën Premtës standing above the city cemetery
    Photos 3 and 4 are close ups on the rear of Kisha Shën Premtës

    We tried to reach Kisha Shën Premtës,but, from where we were, we had to walk across the cemetery but it was closed. We later tried to find the other way, from the topbut failed ; Actually, as there were several other churches to visit, we did not try very hard. That was a mistake as we learned later that it was the one with the most beautiful paintings.

    Moreover, the paintings have been entirely restored in 2004 by a “chantier-école” of the French “Institut National du Patrimoine”. A group of students of the Institute, monitored by their teachers have worked together with Albanian specialists, students and teachers from the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg, Maastricht and from the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (ICR), Rome.

    Here is the transcript of the post standing on the main square of Voskopojë
    Kisha e Shën Athanasit
    The church of St Athanasius is built on the hill with the same name, which has served for the cemetery of the city. The church of St Athanasius is the fourth church of the same type, basilica covered with vaults and cupola, built in Voskopoia. The church is built during the years 1721-24 (the naos was finished in 1721 and the arcade was finished in 1724). The nartex was ruined by the earthquake of 1960.
    The paintings of the naos and the arcade have finished on june 1745 by the brothers Constantine and Athanasius from Korcha, nicknamed as “Zography” (painters” –Gr). Thepaintings in the naos show a very special iconographic program with an extended cycle of saint’s martyrdoms. All the numerous scenes of tortures are presented with a variety of morbid details, exceeding the fantasy of the viewer.
    In the arcade, the brothers Constantine and Athanas have presented with a high professionalism an extended cycle of Apocalypse, which is considered to be as the most completed one presented in the mural paintings until that period. The icons of the templon (iconostasis) are made in 1726 by Constantine Ieromonachos, who was one of the greatest masters of icon making at the beginning of the 18th C.

    Here is a link that shows the students working on the project : Chantier école Voskopojë 2005

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    Kisha Shën Nikola, the paintings inside the church

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha Sh��n Nikola, the paintings inside the church
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    However, when I look at my photos of the chairs, I discovered that I had, by pure chance a few bits of the paintings. Here they are !

    Photo 1 shows a superbly painted man clad in an embroidered costume.

    Photo 2 shows a warrior with a long sword

    Photo 3 shows two priests

    Photo 4 shows another warrior with the same long sword

    Photo 5 possibly shows a king

    I have a few more that I have put in a travelogue.

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    Kisha Shën Nikola, the three chairs

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha Sh��n Nikola, the three chairs
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    Amazingly, Kisha Shën Nikola has three chairs, each of them delicatly carved and painted with gold and other colors. As soon as I had photographed the chairs, their arrived a pope that, as expected made signs meaning that photos were not allowed and he showed the wall with magnificent paintings. They were of the same style than the one outside but were almost undamaged. But I had not photographed them and it was too late ! What a shame.

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    Kisha Shën Nikola, the iconostasis

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha Sh��n Nikola, the iconostasis
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    The church was open , there was nobody inside and no sign said that it was forbidden to photograph. However, I felt that if someone came in, I might be told not to photograph anymore. Thus, I hurried to take as many shots as possible, beginning with the iconostasis.

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    Kisha Shën Nikola, paintings in the gallery

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha Sh��n Nikola, paintings in the gallery
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    Many paintings in the gallery are heavily damaged but nevertheless most of them are still readable. Let us hope that in a near future, they will be restored in the same way than the paintings in Shën Athanasit.

    For those that are interested in these paintings, I have made enlargements in two travelogues

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    Kisha Shën Nikola, the inside of the gallery

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha Sh��n Nikola, the inside of the gallery
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    photo 1 shows the inside of the gallery. Paintings can be seen on the left wall.

    Photo 2 shows the entrance into the church

    Photo 3 is an enlargement that shows the paintings on top pf the entrance, whith St Nicholas in the middle, better seen on photo 4.

    Photo 5 shows two saints standing on the right of the entrance.

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    Kisha Shën Nikola, the gallery from the yard

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha Sh��n Nikola, the gallery from the yard
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    In the yard, on the right, the vaulted gallery extends on the whole length of the church

    Photo 1 and 2 show the whole gallery with its seven pillars

    Photo 3 shows the gallery with the bell-tower in the background.

    Photos 4 and 5 show the nice arrangement of the bricks on top of each vault.

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    Kisha “Fjetja e Shën Marisë”, the apse

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha ���Fjetja e Sh��n Maris�����, the apse
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    While the walls are built with stones, the upper part of the apse is built using bricks in various shapes and colors.

    Photos 1 and 2 show the apse

    Photos 3, 4 and 5 show details of the arrangement of the bricks.

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    Kisha “Fjetja e Shën Marisë”, remains of the narte

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha ���Fjetja e Sh��n Maris�����, remains of the narte
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    As is said on the official signpost, the nartex is entirely ruined and there remains only its print on the western wall. The windows are set with a wire netting but the glass seems to be missing. Ltet us hope that in the near future it will be possible to restore this church too.

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    Kisha “Fjetja e Shën Marisë”, a few paintings

    by JLBG Written Jun 15, 2011

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    Kisha ���Fjetja e Sh��n Maris�����, a few paintings
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    As it was not possible to the paintings inside the church, here is a glimpse on the outer paintings.

    Photo 1 : the paintings on the left are very damaged

    Photo 2 :at the extremity, there is a virgin with child framed by angels

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