Connecting Perls – Western Balkans, Serbia, North Macedonia


Saint Joachim of Osogovo Monastery is located about 3 km northeast of Kriva Palanka, in the Osogovo mountains. It was founded in the XII century, also known as Sarandapor, and is dedicated to the hermit St. Joachim Osogovski, who lived in this area at the end of the XI and the beginning of the XII century.

 The oldest building in the monastery complex is the small “Holy Mother of God” church, built in the XIV or XVI century, on the foundations of the church from the XI and XII centuries.

The building is characterized by the Byzantine style and is one of the first medieval churches on the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia.

The great monastery of St. Joachim Osogovski is not only a trademark of Kriva Palanka but a symbol of the Republic of North Macedonia as well.

The great cathedral church dedicated to St. Joachim Osogovski was built by Andrej Damjanov, a famous builder from that time.

 The Interior and the porches of the church were hand-painted by the four most important Macedonian zoographers of the XIX century: 

Dimitrije Andonov Papradiški, Miron Iliev, Avram Dičov and Gligorije Petrovic. One of the most beautiful frescoes is the “Gospel Sermon of St. Paul.”

The monastery itself has had its ups and downs in its rich history. Its importance is evidenced by the fact that it has been visited by many ecclesiastic dignitaries, statesmen and travel writers.

St. Joachim Osogovski art colony is held annually from September 5 to September 20, starting from September 5, 1987.

 The support that this artistic event received from His Eminence the Metropolitan of Polog and Kumanovo, Mr Kirill, meant the opening of the gates of the St. Joakim Osogovski monastery to art and unexplored forms of spirit. 

The beginning was marked by restoring the eighth-century tradition of the monastery as a cultural, educational and spiritual centre. 

Since 1993 the colony has acquired an international status, which enabled the pulsation of different cultures and traditions, different artistic approaches and stylistic manuscripts.

The frescoes in the church today are more recent.  The iconostasis has two valuable icons, which are probably painted by Hristo Dimitrov (from Samokovska school).  Next to the church, there is a spring that is believed to have medicinal properties.

The summer school for architecture students has been held since 1992 in the St. Joachim Osogovski monastery complex. The school is organized in the form of workshops and lectures, and every season deals with another topic. Students and lecturers come from many countries around the world which gives the school an international character.

The list of lecturers includes architects, sociologists, art historians and writers, so the school which was originally imagined as a summer session of architectural education for young people has exceeded the limits of strictly educational functions. 

The Research on architectural heritage on the territory of North Macedonia has turned towards culture in a broader sense, philosophy, sociology and an ambiguous understanding of the overall cultural heritage.