Monasteries in North Macedonia

Monastery of Saint Naum

The Monastery of Saint Naum is an Eastern Orthodox monastery situated along Lake Ohrid. The Lake Ohrid area, including St Naum, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North Macedonia. The monastery was established in the Bulgarian Empire in 905 by St Naum of Ohrid himself. St Naum is also buried in the church. Since the 16th century, a Greek school had functioned in the monastery. The area where the monaster ...
Founded: 905 AD | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Lesnovo Monastery

Lesnovo monastery is perhaps the best preserved endowment of a Serbian noble of the 14th century, with well-preserved frescoes. It is located on the south-west slopes of Mt Osogovo, in the middle of a volcanic crater.  The monastery is located in a secluded region which was popular with hermits of the 11th century. One of them, St Gabriel of Lesnovo, lived in the local caves and died there as well. Very little is known ...
Founded: 1341 | Location: Probištip, North Macedonia

Zrze Monastery

Zrze Monastery is located near the village Zrze, approx. 25km north-west of Prilep. The numerous remnants of the ancient period-pillars, basilica remains, and other exponents speak of the rich cultural tradition, of this area. Traditionally the monks lived in carved out stone hollows, from the mountain side cliffs. This is believed to date back to the 3rd and 4th century. Today, Zrze monastery complex consists of the chu ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Prilep, North Macedonia

Treskavec Monastery

The Monastery of Treskavec is situated on the rocky Mount Zlatovrv, 8 km north of Prilep. Built in the 12th century, it currently has only one monk. The monastery possesses a large collection of Byzantine frescoes. The oldest remaining date from the 15th century. It was rebuilt in the 14th century by Serbian kings Stefan Milutin and Stefan Dušan. In the mid-16th century it was renovated by knez Dimitrije Pepić (d. 156 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Prilep, North Macedonia

Osogovo Monastery

Osogovo Monastery is a Macedonian Orthodox monastery located near Kriva Palanka, North Macedonia, 10 kilometres from the Bulgarian border. The monastery consists of two churches including the larger 'Saint Joachim of Osogovo' and the smaller 'Holy Mother of God.' The monastery grounds also consist of a bell tower, dormitories, a guardhouse, and a residency for the Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kriva Palanka, North Macedonia

Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery

The Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. One of its most valuable treasures is the iconostasis, created by Petre Filipovski, and considered one of the finest examples of wood-carved iconostases. According to its 1833 chronicle, the monastery was built in 1020 by Ivan I Debranin. The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the 16th century, but it was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, ...
Founded: 1020 | Location: Mavrovo and Rostuša, North Macedonia

Psača Monastery

Psača Monastery is an Orthodox Christian Monastery in the village of Psača, North Macedonia. It was built by Savastokrator Vlatko and his father Duke Paskač around 1354. The monastery, dedicated to St Nicholas the Wonderworker, lies at the end of the village of Psača, 3 km from the Kumanovo – Kriva Palanka Road, in Rankovce Municipality. It belongs to the diocese of Osogovo-Kumanovo of the Macedon ...
Founded: 1354 | Location: Rankovce, North Macedonia

Marko's Monastery

Marko"s Monastery is located in the village of Markova Sušica. The monastery bears the name of Serbian Prince Marko who reigned at the time of its completion. Marko"s Monastery has been active since its establishment. Construction of the Church of Saint Demetrius began under King Vukašin in 1346. The church, including the interior paintings, were completed 30 years later. Before Ottoman rule, the monastery ha ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Studeničani, North Macedonia

Karpino Monastery

The Karpino Monastery is an important Macedonian Orthodox monastery situated near village Suvi Orah. The main monastery church is dedicated to Presentation of Virgin Mary, it was built of crafted stone in the shape of single nave basilica with apse in form of triconhos, from the 16th – 17th century. The church itself was according to myth erected in the 14th century by Dejan. The monastery and church has been burnt and ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Kumanovo, North Macedonia

Kičevo Monastery

The Monastery of Immaculate Mother of God is a Macedonian Orthodox monastery situated near the city of Kicevo, North Macedonia. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. It was founded before the middle of the 16th century and in the 1570s a stone church was built on the site of the present church. In 1843, the monastery was burnt down by Albanians from Debar, but the church remained standing. The church ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Kičevo, North Macedonia

Marko's Monastery

Marko"s Monastery bears the name of Serbian Prince Marko who reigned at the time of its completion. Marko"s Monastery has been active since its establishment. Construction of the Church of Saint Demetrius began under King Vukašin in 1346. The church, including the interior paintings, were completed 30 years later. Before Ottoman rule, the monastery had a school and many monks and priests would write manuscript ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Studeničani, North Macedonia

Matejče Monastery

The Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God, commonly known as Matejče, is a 14th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery located in the village of Matejče on the slopes of Skopska Crna Gora. The monastery was built in the 14th century on the ruins of an older, Byzantine Greek church built in 1057–59, evident in preserved Greek inscriptions. It was mentioned for the first time in 1300 in a chrysobull of Serbian king Stef ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kumanovo, North Macedonia

Polog Monastery

On the shore of the Tikves lake (very close to Pravednik village) is the Monastery Polog and the church St. George, a significant monument of culture from 14th century richly decorated with frescoes. Built in the first half of 14th century, in the foothills of Mount Visesnica, nowadays it is on the left bank of Tikves Lake. It is assumed that it dates back to 9th century because the architectural style is very similar to ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kavadarci, North Macedonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.