Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Boyana Church, Bulgaria






The Boyana Church is a medieval Orthodox church in Bulgaria. It is located in the Boyana quarter, hence the name, on the outskirts of Sofia, the capital. Originally built in the late 10th to the early 11th century, the Boyana Church was expanded a few times, in the 13th century by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, as well as in the mid 19th century.

The Boyana Church houses exquisite frescoes which are one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of east European medieval art. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, at the 3rd session of the World Heritage Committee, which met in Cairo and Luxor, Egypt, on 22-26 October of that year, making it one of the three properties in Bulgaria to make it into the World Heritage List, the other two being the Madara Horseman and the Thracian tomb of Kazanlak.

Photos of Boyana Church

Boyana Church, Bulgaria
Boyana Church, Bulgaria
Author: DMY (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Boyana Church, Bulgaria
Boyana Church, Bulgaria
Author: Aleksander Dragnes (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Boyana Church, Bulgaria
Boyana Church, Bulgaria
Author: Elena Chochkova (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Boyana Church iconography
Boyana Church iconography
Author: I (public domain)

Portrait of Kaloyan and his wife Desislava
Portrait of Kaloyan and his wife Desislava
Author: Kandi (public domain)

More about the Boyana Church

The frescoes of Boyana Church were made in 1259. They were in fact the second later, painted over original artwork done in the earlier centuries. There are a total of 89 scenes with 240 human images painted on the frescoes. The name of the artist, as discovered during restoration, was one "zograph Vassilii, from the village of Subonosha, Sersko, and his apprentice Dimitar".

As for the 11th-12th century original frescoes, only fragments were preserved, as it is the second later done in 1259 which is the more famous. In addition, the church also houses later work done in the 14th, 16-17th centuries, as well as those from 1882.

The oldest section of the Boyana church is the one-apse cross-vaulted chapel built in the late 10th to early 11th century. To this, the ruler Sebastocrator Kaloyan added an annex in the mid 13th century. The annex is a two-floor tomb-church, with the ground floor holding the family sepulchre, and the upper floor the family chapel. The newest section of the church was built in the mid 19th century from funds donated by the surrounding community.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 42 38 60 E 23 16 0
Inscription Year: 1979
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: II, III

The property covers an area of just 0.68 hectares surrounded by a 13.55 hectare buffer zone.

Location Map


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Visiting Boyana Church

Your base for visiting this World Heritage Site is Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. From there, you can make the arrangement, either on your own or through a travel agency, to go to Boyana Church. As part of the preparations, here's a list of hotels in Sofia with online booking facility.

Getting there

You can arrange with a travel agent to reach the Boyana Church, or take a taxi. Getting there by public transport means taking Bus No. 64. Ask for help on where to get down.

Book Hotel Rooms in Bulgaria and Worldwide

Click here also for a full list of hotels in Bulgaria or hotels worldwide. If you prefer budget accommodation in hostels, guesthouses or inns, check out hostels worldwide for budget accommodation providers with online booking.


Return to Bulgaria's World Heritage Sites
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