Velmej Things to Do

  • Cave Jaorec
    Cave Jaorec
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  • Bat in Cave Jaorec
    Bat in Cave Jaorec
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  • Cave Jaorec
    Cave Jaorec
    by Pijlmans

Most Recent Things to Do in Velmej

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    Chapel of St Petka

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Chapel of St Petka
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    This small chapel dedicated to St Petka is dated August 8th 2001.

    It is on the central square, next to the fountain and watermill.

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    Old Watermill

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Old Watermill
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    This old watermill is located on the central square of Velmej, next to the fountain.

    Try to have a look inside, you can still see the construction which was used to grind.

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    • Archeology
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    Church of St George, church grounds

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
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    A stone object (table?) on the grounds of the Church of St George.

    Remarkably, a similar object can be found next to the Church of St Nikola on the cemetery.

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    Church of St Nikola, frescoes

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Church of St George
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    Some pictures of the interior and frescoes of the 13th century Church of St Nikola.

    More pictures of the frescoes can be found in my Velmej Travelogue in the link below.

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    Church of St Nikola, exterior

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Church of St Nikola
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    This 13th century church in the cemetery of Velmej really surprised us. Besides being very old, it had interesting frescoes.

    If the church is closed, ask for the key at the house on the right of the fountain or just elsewhere in the village. Key of the church = klucot od crkvata, pronounced "klutsjot od serkvata".

    The book The Holy Virgin Immaculate - Kelia about Velmej and its churches writes about St Nikola:

    The Church of St Nicholas is located in the central part of the village Velmey. It was rebuilt many times and the appearance changed through the reinstatements, which is especially evident from the most recent interventions, in particular when entire architectural complex was covered up by a single roof construction. Thus, this exceptional sacral edifice which dates from the 13th century received the present day architectural features, common for the 19th century Macedonian sacral monuments.

    Inside the church there is an iconostasis and unfortunately many severely damaged icons dating from the 16th and the 17th centuries, the wood carved bishop's throne is also an interesting detail. Above the south entrance in a semi-circular lunette are portrayed the Holy Virgin of tenderness with the infant Christ wearing an earring, dating from the 13th century. Interesting is the depiction of the patron, St Nicholas who is painted in the outsideeast niche just above the apse.

    According to the Russian traveler-writer Viktor Grigorovich who stayed in the Monastery at Leshani of All Saints in 1845, he was given a bag full of old book manuscripts from a priest of the village of Velmey, who also informed him that many other old manuscripts in fear that they will be destroyed by the Greek - Phanariots were built into the church of St Nicholas during the restoring. Even today the older village inhabitants carry on the story that goes back in time that in the church foundation a casket was placed with old manuscripts written on rabbit parchments.

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    Church of St Bogorodica Precista - Kelia, exterior

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Church of St Bogorodica Precista - Kelia
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    The Church of St Bogorodica Precista, or the Holy Virgin Immaculate, is situated close to the entrance of Velmej. The interior of the church is covered with beautiful frescoes dating back to the 16th century.

    If the church is closed, ask for the key in the village. Key of the church = klucot od crkvata, pronounced "klutsjot od serkvata". It is a good habit to leave some denars in the church, or to buy some candles.

    Quoting the book "Holy Virgin Immaculate - Kelia", that we were given by a very friendly local:

    The Church of the Holy Virgin - Kelia is a one aisle church located on the east outskirts of the village Velmej, just several meters away from the last houses. The church of the Holy Virgin was completely painted in the 16th century. From the information of the older inhabitants once a cell school was situated on this site, and in distant past far renowned fairs were organized around the church. To present day a tale has lived that during the Ottoman period inside the church farmers locked up seven donkeys, and they soiled the interior and died. This happened in year of 1875. From that day on, service no longer was held in the church nor a fair was organized".

    The church is also called "Kelia", which means "cell", possibly referring to its single room. However, it may also mean that the church was under a monastery dependency, the word "cell" referring to "element of".

    Following the conservation and restoration of the architecture and frescoes, the church was placed under state protection in 1998.

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    Book about Velmej and its churches

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    The Holy Virgin Immaculate - Kelia Cover
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    This book was given to us by the caretaker of the church St Bogorodica Precista, or the Holy Virgin Immaculate - Kelia. The title of the book is "The Holy Virgin Immaculate - Kelia".

    The book tells the history of this church, the Church of St Nikola, Velmej and describes the frescoes inside the church St Bogorodica Precista in great detail. It has many beautiful pictures and is written in Macedonian, Russian and English.

    This unique book of academic quality was sponsored by Ilija Iloski, born in Velmej, and written (among others) by Viktorija Popovska-Korobar, PhD.

    It was printed in June 2009 in a limited edition of 700. You might be able to get a copy in Velmej.

    ISBN 978-9989-888-21-2

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    Cave Jaorec

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Cave Jaorec
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    The Cave Joarec lies about 3.5 km (as the crow flies) east of the village Velmej.

    We asked for information regarding its location in the village, and we were told that it would be very hard to find. However, one of the locals did not mind to come with us, a great example of how friendly and helpful the Macedonian people are!

    And indeed, without our guide it would have been very hard if not impossible to find the cave. The guide turned out also to be the caretaker of the Church of St Bogorodica Precista - Kelia, and he even gave us a book about the old churches and the village Velmej itself, entitled "The Holy Virgin Immaculate - Kelia".

    The book states about the cave that "it is a shelter from the Paleolithic period. According to paleontological research, 30 remains were stated from a cave bear, belonging to the upper Pleistocene period. The cave was home to the Paleolithic hunters, and through time was used for sheltering, as confirmed by the pottery fragments, which are covered with layers of ashes."

    Indeed, it seems there has been some (recent) digging in the cave, there are big holes in the ground.

    The cave was full with bats, which even flew into my face when I entered deeper into the cave.

    We had read that there should be well-preserved frescoes in the cave, but we could not find them.

    Our guide told us that the cave was part of an interconnecting cave-system. Allegedly, they once had released a small pig in another cave nearby, and the pig had come out the Jaorec Cave. I didn't go further than the last picture shows though, it was going steep upwards from there.

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    Church of St George, exterior

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 1, 2009
    Church of St George
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    The Church of St George lies on a small hill above the village Velmej. It has a red bell tower built next to it.

    According to an inscription it was probably built or renovated in 1931.

    The frescoes look quite new and bright, and have text written in the Glagolitic alphabet.

    If the church is closed, ask for the key at the house on the right of the fountain or just elsewhere in the village. Key of the church = klucot od crkvata, pronounced "klutsjot od serkvata".

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    Fountain / Source

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Fountain / Source
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    Fountain / source with perfect drinking water on the central square, next to the old watermill.

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    Church of St George, interior

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Church of St George
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    Frescoes inside the Church of St George.

    The frescoes have great clear colors and text written in the Glagolitic alphabet.

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    Church of St Nikola, interior

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Church of St Nikola
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    Some pictures of the interior of the 13th century Church of St Nikola.

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    Church of St Bogorodica Precista - Kelia, interior

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 16, 2009
    Church of St Bogorodica Precista - Kelia
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    Some pictures of the frescoes and the inside of the Church of St Bogorodica Precista, The Holy Virgin Immaculate - Kelia.

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    • Arts and Culture

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    Church of St Spas

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 1, 2009
    Church of St Spas
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    This relatively new church was built in 2001, after somebody had a dream that a church should be built on this location.

    It is dedicated to St Spas, the Holy Savior.

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    • Religious Travel

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