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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Samokov

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

This is a very, very old and extremely beautiful church.

It was consecrated in the distant year 1793.

It was built with the funds of patriotic people of the town of Samokov on the site where there was previously a smaller church from the seventeenth century.

How to get to here?

It is half hidden in the ground - such were the harsh laws of that dark time.

It is surrounded by a high stone wall.

In 1805 a new construction of the church began in order to transform it from one - three-nave, higher and more spacious.

It took a quarter of a century for the builders to complete the new temple.

The preserved prayer hall has massive stone walls. Two rows of columns divide it into three ships, the middle of which is wider than the side ones. Shutters and wooden walls close the chapel and the staircase to the emporium from the west.

An altar apse has been added to the east, which extends beyond the rectangular prayer hall.

The church ends with an open narthex, whose painted forehead is carried by slender columns with carved heads.

It is said that on the day of the consecration the exceptional master of Mount Athos carved an iconostasis, a pulpit, hierarchical and epitropic thrones, two proskenitaria.

The woodcarving is on walnut boards, which a horse caravan brought from distant Mount Athos.

The icons that were inserted into the slits of the iconostasis are the work of the painter Hristo Dimitrov. This iconostasis is the first monument that marked the birth of the Samokov Art School.

Along with the construction for the expansion of the Metropolitan church, the iconostasis of Master Andon was to be expanded. This was done by the recent master from Thessaloniki Atanas Teladuro.

In 1833, the master completed the two new side wings of the iconostasis by linking them to the architectural division that Master Andon gave to his creation. The carved partition of the altar became a complete vertical wall with a plinth, a row of large icons, an architrave, a cornice and a vine, a row of small icons and a rich openwork wreath.

Thus, two masters, who came to Samokov at different times, created with creative splendor a monument of carving art, which became a school for master carvers from Samokov, and their iconostasis remains unsurpassed in their mastery.

Today, along with the unique woodcarving, the church houses icons of the founder of the Samokov school Hristo Dimitrov, Zahari Zograf, Ivan Nikolov Icon painter, Nikola Obrazopisov, Zahari Popradoykov, Kosta Gerov - Antikarov, Mikhail Belstoynev.

Be sure to visit it too! And bow your head in humility!

I wish you an exceptional and impressive walk!

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