THE KREMIKOVTSI MONASTERY ,,ST. GEORGE THE VICTOR”

The Kremikovtsi monastery is situated on the southern slopes of the Balkan Mountains and can be seen from the Sofia plain. It is believed that it was founded in the 14th c on the order of King Ivan Alexander, together with 14 monasteries in the region of Sofia.
There are data about its existence from the 15th c (according to the inscriptions on the mural paintings) when was built and renovated the church ,,St. George”, preserved to this day. In 1493 the local dignitary Radivoy ordered the paintings in the church in connection with the death of his children. Particularly interesting is the family portrait of the church donor presenting the model of the temple to its patron St. George in the presence of the Metropolitan of Sofia Klevit. This unusual composition in fact raises the donor to the level of the saint. Such honour was bestowed on royal personalities only.
The exterior of the building is plain, like all other churches built at the beginning of the Ottoman rule. Following the practice in the Middle Ages, its walls are made of stone, brick and mortar. The interior however is covered with mural paintings which are well preserved and are among the most valuable and moving examples of that period. Some of them were created in the 15th c – those in the naos and part of the paintings in the narthex. They are made in the tradition of the Turnovo painting school – with grandeur, bright colours, impressive figures, rich clothes and jewelry. The modest small church is a real art gallery. The figures of the standing warriors in the naos are really impressive. Particularly expressive and animated is the image of St. Archangel
Michael, the image of St. Elena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. The image
of St. George on horseback fighting the dragon is rare in its beauty.
The renovation of the mural paintings in the church was executed in the 16th and 17th-18th c. The building itself has been renovated partially several times.
Many of the scenes in the narthex were painted in later periods – ,,The Nativity of the Holy Virgin”, ,,Annunciation of St. Ana” and others. These images are remarkable
for the natural postures of the figures and the complicated architectural background.
The ,,Kremikovtsi Gospel” of 1497 as well as several icons kept in various museums are valuable monuments of culture.
There was rich literary activity in the Kremikovtsi monastery, the 17th and 18th c included. It had an important role as a spiritual centre for the people of the Sofia region.
The new church ,,The Protecting Veil of the Holy Virgin” was built in 1902 and the rest of the monastery buildings were completed in the 30s of the 20th c.

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