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The Splendour of Byzantine Art

Staro Nagoricane, a village in a rural district near Kumanovo, possesses such a rich cultural heritage that many towns would admire. Its Kokino Megalithic observatory was ranked the 4th oldest in the world by NASA. There is the cell of Saint Prohor Pcinjski, the most famous local saint in this part of the Balkans. Then, it has one of the biggest military monuments, Zebrnjak, devoted to the Serbian army in World War I, as well as a few churches with rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Among them is the church devoted to Saint George which is one of the most important examples of medieval Byzantine art in Macedonia. It was built in 1068 by the Emperor Roman IV Diogenes who wished to honour Saint Prohor and the cell in which he started his monastic life. The legend says that when the future emperor once followed a wounded deer during a hunt, the bloody trail led him to the monk’s cell. The monk pleaded not to shoot the deer and prophesised that Roman would soon become Byzantine Emperor. The prophecy came true. The grateful Emperor built the church devoted to Prohor Pchinjski. From that time only the facade walls and a very small frescoe fragment remain, but they are a sufficient indication of how richly the old church was decorated. The present church was renewed by the Serbian king Stephan II Milutin (1282-1321) in 1313, which is written on a stone at the rear entrance. The church is a monumental building with five richly decorated domes. Read more …