The church St. George represents one of the rarest and most valuable testimonies of Byzantine art in the Balkan Peninsula. Its fresco-painting represents an original and a unique peak of artistic mastery in the times of Comnenus, who ruled the Byzantine Empire from 1081 to 1185.

The church is located on the beautiful lower slopes of Pelister mountain (National Park Pelister) with a magnificent view on Prespa lake that connects North Macedonia, Greece and Albania and creates the only triple border on fresh water in Europe.

St. George church was built in the 12th century, in the village of Kurbinovo, during the reign of Isaac II Angelos. The decoration of the church started on 25th April 1191, according to the original inscription from the fresco “Honorary table” in the north part of the altar which is almost completely preserved.

The single-nave building with a semicircular apse is 17 meters long and 7 meters wide. It is the largest single-nave church in North Macedonia. The exterior, with its simple and austere architectural style, contains an unsuspected pictorial richness.

The fresco-painting in the interior of the church is divided into three zones. The frescoes illustrate scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary. In the altar apse, the composition Annunciation is painted, that has made this church exclusive and a part of the annals of the peak achievements of the Byzantine fresco-painting. Interesting and rare are the depictions of Jesus Christ and the patron of the church, St. George, from the north and the south wall, with a monumental size. On the west facade, there are visible remnants of frescoes with depictions of the unknown donor of the church, together with the imperial couple Isaac II Angelos and his wife Margarita, as well the figure of the archbishop Johan Kamatir.

The continuity of the importance of the church is witnessed by some later additions on the southern façade, as well as by the presence of a scene of St. Demetrius, on the north wall, executed at the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century.

It is very likely that the church was abandoned in the 17th century. During the 19th it was rediscovered, and in the first decades of the 20th century, the wooden ceiling of the Kurbinovo church was replaced and a porch was built. The southern and the northern entrances were closed and transformed into two windows. These interventions did not damage the murals.

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Kurbinovo, North Macedonia
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Details

Founded: c. 1191
Category: Religious sites in North Macedonia

Rating

4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

rob buja (4 months ago)
Macedonian monastery built in 1109. Dispels any myth by some of who we are and when we formed..
antonie onosimoski (8 months ago)
Nice place
Mende Lazarovskik (10 months ago)
An ancient church undergoing restoration.
Nitro Computers (3 years ago)
Unique Macedonian orthodox jewel from 1191 in Kurbinovo, second church on the Road on The Sacred Waters. Its frescos are masterpiece of Christian culture, depicting the scenes as they are living. Saints Gabriel and Michael are protecting baby Jesus Christ from the both sides
Off-Road Macedonia (5 years ago)
Saint George Monastery (Св. Ѓорѓи, Курбиново) located near village Kurbinovo, on the slopes of Pelister Mountain, is one of the least visited, but singularly among the most important monasteries in Macedonia. St. George church is small single-nave church which originates from 1191 and its fresco-painting represents a true masterpiece of Byzantine painting. The interior of this small temple, contains some of the most valuable murals in Eastern Christian art. The fresco-painting is divided into three zones. The frescoes illustrate scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary. In the altar apse, the Annunciation composition is painted, which has made this temple a true masterpiece of Byzantine painting. The depiction of Archangel Gabriel is truly impressive and it has become a symbol of the church Saint George in Kurbinovo. Part of this painting is depicted on the Macedonian banknote of 50 denars.
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.