Markov Monastery - Skopje

Only 20 km (12 m) distant from the city, yet a world away in terms of atmosphere, Markov Monastery sits amidst flowering woods in the village of Markova Sushica. The construction of the church, dedicated to the martyr St Demetrius, began during the reign of King Volkashin (1346/47) but was painted and completed only some 30 years later. The church was built on a three-nave base with a vaulted dome on stone. Unlike many monasteries affected by Ottoman rule, Markov has retained its original structure and form.

The church has tremendous importance for Byzantine art, as it contains many examples of highly unique frescoes. Some seem to have arrived here out of the blue, as it were, while others of a known iconographic design underwent such dramatic stylistic changes that they came to form new iconographic entities in their own right.

During Byzantine times, the monastery had its own school and many manuscripts were written by the monks and priests. Among the most famous ones are the Prologue – a preface written by deacon Nikola (1370), and a letter (1362) by a monk known as Varlam.

The monastic complex today contains dormitories, dining room that are richly decorated with frescoes, a bell tower, an old mill, a wishing well full of cold spring water, and storerooms. The monastery still has an operating oven and a special stove for making rakija (a kind of brandy).

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