Guide to SKOPJE

Tranquillity, spirituality, history and natural beauty

At an altitude of 1000 meters at the foot of the mountain massif Dautica is „Holy Trasnfiguration“, one of the most beautiful monastery complexes in Macedonia. The team of Balcony 3 team visited the monastery, located near the village of Zrze, which is the reason why many people know it exactly by that name.

We were kindly welcomed at the monastery and they selflessly and generously offered us the peace, tranquility and the magnificent view. The hosts can let you enjoy by yourselves or to give you a tour around the church just to retell you the  strange stories (legends) which are shared across generations.

FOR THE MONASTERY LEGEND…

According to the canonical rules, when we are facing West in the iconostasis of the church the icon of the Holy Mother should always be on the right side. But when you enter the church in Zrze you will notice that the icon of the Virgin Mary is on the left side. The legend says that the prior who placed the icon of the Virgin Mother noticed that she changed from its canonical place and moved to the opposite side just by the icon of Jesus Christ.

That was reapeated for three days in a row and whenever the monks brought it back on the old place, it returned again to the opposite side. The third time, when the prior asked why the icon changes its place the lips of Virgin Mary moved and she replied: “I do not want to turn my back on my son and that is why I change the canonical place”

The complex of churches in the monastery Zrze is consist of the church “Ss. Transfiguration “, built in the XIV century and the church” Ss. Peter and Paul ” built in XVII century. The concept of the foundation of the church complex, along with foundation walls on the southern side of the church “Ss. Transfiguration “give us the right to say that the churches were built on the foundations of an early Christian basilica. The conservation and the restoration work of the church complex was performed around 1963.

Right above the village Zrze on a small elevation and on sidelong is the church of St. Nicholas. The exact date of the construction of the church can not be precisely confirmed, although it is widely known that it happened in 1459. The church was painted by the artist Onufrie in 1535, when the altar space in the chapel also got frescoes as same as the outside wall on the western part of the church.

HOW TO REACH THE MONASTERY IN ZRZE?

The „Holy Transfiguration Monastery“ is located 33 kilometers northwest of Prilep. There are 169 km from Skopje to the Prilep monastery, through the E-75 highway and the road 106. If you like to go through Tetovo and Gostivar you can drive down the road M-4 and than the distance is 175 km. From Bitola to Zrze there are 77 km through the road M-5. Given that Bitola is only on a 15 km distance from Greece, our recommendation for the Greek tourists that are looking for interesting places to visit is that they must put the monastery Zrze in their travel plans. Visit the monastery Zrze and in the meantime we hope that our photos will capture the cultural, spiritual and natural wealth which are found in abundance in this place.

Sasho Noveski

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