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ST. JOVAN BIGORSKI MONASTERY

Rostuša.

Hidden away on the side of a mountain just off the main road between Debar and Gostivar and dedicated to John the Baptist, it’s said that the history of this masterpiece of a monastery dates back 1,000 years. Destroyed by the Ottomans in the 16th century and rebuilt in 1743 with further expansions taking place the following century, the complex was seriously damaged by fire in 2009 and much of what you see today is a modern imitation. Thankfully however most of the important artefacts, including some outstanding gold-encrusted icons, one of which is said to date from the 11th century, and the church’s gorgeous carved wooden iconostasis, survive.

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