Boyana Church - History and Facts | History Hit

Boyana Church

Vitosha, Sofia City, Bulgaria

The Boyana Church houses some of the most impressive medieval frescoes in Europe and is a UNESCO world heritage historic site.

Peta Stamper

03 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Boyana Church

The Boyana Church in Sofia, Bulgaria, is famous for housing some of the most impressive medieval frescoes in Europe.

The church complex was built over 3 distinct periods, beginning in the 10th century and finally finished during the mid-19th century. The 13th century frescoes themselves are considered to be an historical treasure and an excellent example of the artwork of the period.

Today, the Boyana Church is a UNESCO world heritage historical site and is open to the public, featuring as one of our top visitor attractions in Bulgaria.

Boyana Church history

The initial Boyana Church was built during the late 10th century as a private chapel which stood within the Boyana fortress in the shape of a cross.

Later, during the 12th century Second Bulgarian Empire period, the Boyana Church complex was expanded and the famous frescoes were added in 1259. These extraordinary frescoes, layered over earlier paintings depict the life of Saint Nicholas while including aspects of contemporary life, populated with over 240 figures.

Finally, in the mid-19th century, further work was undertaken using donations from the local community, leaving us with the Boyana Church as it is known today.

Boyana Church today

Today, the Boyana Church is under the protection of the National Historical Museum of Bulgaria, and is open to visitors every day from 9am to 6pm. Inside remain the centuries old frescoes of bright and rich colours depict 89 scenes full of vivid characters, including donors to the church and Venetian mariners.

In order to protect the paintings, access is limited to groups of 8 visitors and by 10-minute guided tour only. However, the nearby Boyana Church Museum contains further information on the history of the complex and visitors can buy a combined ticket to both sites.

Getting to Boyana Church

Situated on the outside of the Bulgarian capital in the Boyana neighbourhood, Boyana Church is reached by public transport on bus 107 (running every 46 minutes) and bus 64 stops nearby. The National Historical Museum is a half hour walk from the church across the Boyana Residency park and garden.

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Bulgaria Historic Sites

Discover the best historic sites in Bulgaria, including cultural landmarks and attractions such as the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon and the medieval Boyana Church.