Friday, 8 July 2011

The 7 day circuit to Bulgaria - The morning of day 5 (cont.) - The National History Museum and the Church of Boyana, Sofia - The 16th of June 2011


We continued to marvell at the wide variety of articrafts housed in the Museum of National History as the guided morning visit went on.

Representation of Mithras (limestone); 2nd and 3rd century AD (left).
Tile with representation of Shaman (clay); first half of 9th century AD (Right).

Slab with representation  of lion (red stone); 11th century AD

Icons from the Middle Age (donation of Boyan Radev a well known Bulgarian collector)

We finally managed to buy some historical books in English (which we hadn't been able to) at the Museum's store before we got on the bus to further continue the tour. 

Our morning scheduled visits included the 1259 St. Nicholas and St. Panteleimon Boyana Church,  a UNESCO listed Medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church, which we had to visit in three groups because of the size of its interior (Christian and I were included in the last group).

Outside view of the Church - Southern facade.

According to official accounts it owed its worldwide popularity to the 240 frescoes, each of which was distinguished by its individuality, but I don't think any of us was prepared for what we were to see behind such a humble looking door. An indescribable assemble of Art at its best.

Unauthorised photographing made us  listen to what was being said more thoroughly (without any other "distraction"). The Church guide "introduced" us to all the characters and historical moments and she did it in such a way that soon we were in the scenarios ourselves.  

Church entrance door

1259 frescoe depicting Tsar Constantine Asen Tikh and Tsaritsa Irina (to be seen on the southern wall of the narthex). Photo taken at the National History Museum

Upon having asked who the Church painter(s) were, we were told that the name of the painter/s of the church had remained unknown, (despite the aknowledged exceptional artistic values and technique) largely due to the official position of the church at the time, which believed it was God, rather than the painter's talent that  guided the painter's hand.

It is known though that during that era churches of this size were traditionally painted by a group of 3 or 4 painters - a master, an assistant and a couple of apprentices.

What an "enrichening" morning that was !!! ... (and the day hadn't finished yet ...).

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