1. From Sofia: Day Trip to Osogovo and Zemen Monasteries
The tour starts at 9.00 from the hotel that you are staying at, in Sofia. First, you will visit the Zemen Monastery "St. John the Theologian", situated on the left bank of the Struma River, just one kilometer away from the town of Zemen, Pernik Province, and 75 km southwest of Sofia. The church of “Saint John the Theologian” in Zemen monastery was built in the 11th century and is one of the oldest monuments of medieval Bulgarian architecture and art. Fragments from the first layer dated from the 11th century were discovered in the right apse, representing the images of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, as well as Saint Constantine and Saint Helena. The guided visit at the monastery is about 30 minutes. After this, you will continue to Osogovo Monastery “St. Joachim”, which is situated 80 km from Zemen and just 3 km from Kriva Palanka, RNM. The present monastery has two churches - the old one “Holy Mother of God”, which was built in the 13th century, and the new one, St. Joachim Osogovski – in the 19th century. The most impressive wall paintings were done by Dimitar Papradishki. It’s unusual to see frescoes on the outside walls of Orthodox churches and monasteries, but here you will see a very well-preserved fresco of the Judgement Day theme. In the monastery, you will have about a 30-minute guided tour and some free time. After that, you will go to the nearby village where you can have a lunch break and try traditional local food and drinks.