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Writer Jessica Ackerman: Touring the Beautiful Churches of Macedonia

If you are fortunate enough to visit or live in Macedonia, you owe it to yourself to visit some of the beautiful and historic churches and monasteries. The Republic of Macedonia is located in Southeastern Europe, in the area of the central Balkan peninsula. Macedonia has only been an independent republic since 1991, since it was previously part of Yugoslavia. As such, the area is rich in history, traditions, and beautiful architecture. Many of the churches in Macedonia have been in existence for centuries, and are certainly worth visiting. Although there are numerous churches in Macedonia, here are a few you shouldn't miss viewing.

St. Panteleimon, Nerezi
This beautiful church is located in the small village of Gorno Nerezi, which is only a fifteen minute drive from downtown Skopje. Considered to be one of the oldest and most notable churches in Macedonia, it was built during the 12th century. It is famous for its beautiful fresco paintings inside the church, which are actually a combination of original and newer art in some areas. After the church's dome collapsed in 1555, the artwork was restored by using portions of the original paintings in newer paintings. These paintings are quite inspirational, featuring a rare portrayal of emotions and facial expressions. Some of them are considered to be masterpieces, so don't miss the chance to view them in person.

St. Sophia, Ohrid
St. Sophia, located in Ohrid, has a very interesting history. It is a spectacular example of religious architecture, and is thought to date back to 11th century. In fact, there is reason to believe that it might have been built on the site of an even older Christian basilica. It features beautiful fresco paintings dating back to the 11th through the 14th century. However, the story of how the paintings were preserved over the years is also quite interesting. These beautiful paintings were actually concealed by plaster for many years because the church served as a mosque during the time when the area was included in the Ottoman Empire. Fortunately, the plaster only served to help preserve the beautiful and historical paintings. The paintings were uncovered and restored after World War II, which is why they can still be viewed and enjoyed today.

Markov Monastery, Skopje
Located close to Skopje, the Markov Monastery is actually built in Markova Sushica, which is a small nearby village. Built during the 14th century, this church is a classic example of original religious architecture from that time period. While many other churches were altered during the period of Ottoman rule, this church managed to preserve its original form and structure. It contains many spectacular fresco paintings, some of which are incredibly unique. In addition to the many traditional iconographic designs, there are also paintings that have their own special style. If you enjoy viewing historic Byzantine art, you should not miss out on visiting this beautiful church. Today, the Markov Monastery includes a bell tower, a dining room adorned with beautiful fresco paintings, dormitories, a mill, and a wishing well.

Jessica Ackerman is a freelance writer and works for WallDecorandHomeAccents.com. She shares her wealth of knowledge on cityscape wall sculptures and landscape wall decor.

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