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Zurce Monastery - Demir Hisar

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The monastery church dedicated to St. Athanasius of Alexandria is located in the village near Bitola, Zurce. It was constructed and decorated with frescoes at the same period, in the first decades of the 17th Century. Towards the end of the 19th Century, the dormitory of the monastery fell down, and soon afterwards all the meaning that this sacred object had among the people was lost. In more recent times, the temple was renovated and a new dormitory was raised. The monk order was reestablished in Zurce.

This is a three-arc church on a rectangular basis. The open porch in front of the narthex entrance is vaulted with a part where the most interesting frescoes are placed. They are the portraits of the Slavs John of Rila and John of Osogovo, the month calendar with stories of the most notable characteristics of each of the months. These are original depictions of this kind and represent an exception from the ordinary themes from the medieval fresco paining in churches.

The icons placed on the wooden iconostasis, originate from the 17th Century. Of particular importance among them are the small double icons from the 17th Century with particular style and beauty.

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