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The Cave church St. Nikola, Dradnja village, Kavadarci

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Markos cave church is located southwest from the village Dradnja. The natural cave which is about 15m deep, highly raised above the dry dale and situated in the rocks is utilized for the building of a church dedicated to St. Nicholas. It is not known why the church got the name Markos church. In the ground part of the church was found an inscription, partly preserved, modern, with the fresco painting and the raising of the church, but it cant be confirmed from it about the time of the raising and the fresco painting of the church.   

In the inscription are mentioned Prelate, Prior and Voivode (Governor) whose names cant be read very well. This church is mentioned in the literature, but there is no exact date about its fresco painting. The church is set with the west facade to the closed part, and the east part is turned to the opened part of the cave.

The church is composed of a ground floor and another floor. Through the ground floor is entering in the cave from where on wooden stairs was climbing to the inside of the church. From the old church today are preserved the wall on the west facade, the north and partly the south. The church is a single-nave building with small dimensions, covered by a semicircular vault made of tuff stone. It was built from broken stone and carved limestone.

The fresco paint is performed in the floor and in the ground floor. In the niche on the west facade, above the entrance, is the image of St. Nicholas, whom the church was dedicated to. From the other saints can be met: St. Nikanor, the evangelist John and fragments of the composition “Jesus Christ Emanuil”. On the west wall from the interior side is painted the composition “Assumption of Virgin Mary”, one unknown saint, maybe St. Pantelejmon and the composition “Transformation”. On the north wall still can be recognized one young saint, probably St. Kuzman, the Deisis composition and scenes from the life of St. Nicholas. The style analysis on the fresco paints with the comparative material is pointing to the fact that the fresco paint originates from the 14th century.

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