National Museum of History, Boyana Church Branch

Boyana Church of St. Nicholas and St. Pantaleimon is situated at the foot of Vitosha Mountain, in Boyana Housing Estate in Sofia. It is one of the few medieval monuments of Christian art that have survived until the present day. The church is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was built in three stages: first stage – 11th century, second stage – mid-13th century, and third stage – mid-19th century. The eastern part of the church is a small single-apsed, cross-in-square building with built-in supports that form a cross. Boyana Church owes its global fame mainly to the wall-paintings of 1259 which demonstrate the exceptional achievements of the Bulgarian medieval culture. Each of more than 240 figures depicted in the church has unique individuality and high artistic value. The portraits of ktitors Sebastocrator Kaloyan and his wife Desislava, and Constantine Tikh Asen (who ruled in the period 1257 – 1277) and Tsaritsa Irene are some of the oldest pictures of historical figures that have been preserved to this day. 18 scenes in the narthex including elements from the everyday lives of the painters’ contemporaries depict the life of St. Nicholas – one of the temple’s patron saints. The oldest surviving portrait of St. Ivan of Rila, the Bulgarian national saint who lived in the 10th century and who established Rila Monastery, can be found among the pictures of other saints in the church. The portrait of St. Ephrem the Syrian, whose all-seeing eyes follow the visitors everywhere, can also be seen among the pictures of monks and hermits.

Accommodation in Sofia

Additional Information

November – March
every day from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm
(the ticket office closes at 5.00 pm)April – October
9.00 am – 6.00 pm
(the ticket office closes at 5.30 pm)Closed on 24 and 25 December, 1 January.
Reservations for groups must be made in advance.
Individual visitors – BGN 10
Students – BGN 2