The Boyana Church, nestled in Sofia’s outskirts, is a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox temple. Located in the Boyana neighbourhood of Bulgaria’s capital, the church comprises three buildings. Various layers of magnificent frescoes surprise visitors with their gorgeous look and detail. 1979 saw the church’s addition to the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Three states comprise the construction of the Orthodox temple:
The eastern part of the church was erected in the 10th century. Sebastocrator Kaloyan enlarged it by constructing a two-storey building next to the first one at the outset of the 13th century. The frescoes, painted in 1259 and located in the second church, make for one of the most significant medieval paintings collections.
The beginning of the 19th century experienced the completion of the church complex by the construction of a third building. The Boyana Church complex is among the most impeccably conserved and complete monuments of Eastern European medieval art.
The first layer of frescoes dates to the 11th and 12th century. Unfortunately, only fragments of them are conserved. The prominent second layer, consisting of murals from 1259, is almost intact. Besides these layers, there is a tinier number of frescoes that stem from the 14th, 16th, 17th, and 19th centuries.
Thanks to the assiduous efforts of a Bulgarian specialist and an Austrian professional, the frescoes underwent cleaning and restoration in the period 1912-1915 and again between 1934 and 1944.
The church’s world fame originates from the frescoes, painted in 1259, that form the second layer.
The National Historical Museum was moved to the former residence of the last Bulgarian communist leader and dictator (Todor Zhivkov) in the Boyana district.