12 April 2016

Our day - TOUR 74/September 2014

 (Zemen Monastery and the chapel above Pchelina dam)

The day when we had to set off for our next goals arrived and we had gained some impressive, adventurous and unforgettable moments from Tran and the surrounding area.
It was drizzling but still raining. It was dark, wet and somehow melancholic. Autumn was coming day by day.
We chose the way which was NOT recommended to us. It was picturesque but desolate. Narrow at some places and almost a mountain path.
We went through some small villages such as Mramor, Gorochevtsi, Dokyovtsi, Penkyovtsi and thus till we reached Zemen. We crossed the bridge over Struma River and continued travelling nearly along its stream until we approached Zemen Monastery of ‘Sveti Yoan Bogoslov’. On the right we managed to see the first high rocks – the beginning of Zemen defile.

Early in the morning the monastery met us quietly in the beautiful greenery and the colourful autumn flowers.

It was founded in the 11-th century. At first we had a good look at the church that was announced as a monument of the Bulgarian architecture and painting.

I was most impressed by the floor. We were walking on thick stone tiles, where so many people had stepped on and at some places they were worn out and slippery. The building itself had a cube shape and together with the spectacular wall paintings made the church unique. Our attention was drawn by the church tower.

The whole complex represents a National Museum.

The atmosphere at that moment was particularly charming – after the rain freshness, purity, yellow autumn leaves covering the grass as if deliberately, silence …
A squirrel was running on the opposite wall and hid among the branches of the trees nearby.

After seeing the monastery we set out for the village of Potsarnentsi and in particular Pchelina dam, a place that we had dreamt about for a long time –‘Sveti Yoan Krastitel Letni’ Medieval chapel that had always remained on one side of all routes.

After going through a few neighbourhoods, we came to a dirt road which according to the descriptions, we had read in advance, lead to the monastery.
It was drizzling and foggy but the more we were approaching by every meter, the more joyful we became. We parked the car, put on our gaiters, raincoats, packed well and moved on. After the turn we saw the small building of the chapel, located on the hill top above the dam.

It stopped raining as if by order.

It was awfully muddy.

I had lots of mud on my shoes soles.
The last part of the road – climbing the hill was almost an obstacle. Mud and some cow mines. We were trying to go over the ‘cakes’ but the soles were not controllable and we were sliding like skiing. Back and forth, to one side and the other and finally we climbed it.

It wasn’t very suitable for photography but the intense weather changes, literally for seconds, allowed us to take some photos.
The view that was revealed made you stare and not be able to take your eyes off it.





We were standing in front of the chapel door. The marble stone at the doorstep showed the year it was built in  – in 1350. We opened the door and started looking at the wall paintings.

Apart from them we were impressed by the wall scribbles. They were ugly and therefore I won’t show them. A beautiful spot with ancient history and like other frequent cases it was ruined ….
I really feel sorry for the people who do that and I hope the society will start realizing it faster.

We went round the rocks by the small chapel.

We looked at the dam from the top stepping on the rocks edges.

We sat on the bench near the chapel.

At last the tiny chapel on the hill top of Pchelina dam became reality, and not just a beautiful consecutive photograph. It was worth going to it with every muddy step, gust of wind and raindrops.
By mentioning it new raindrops showed us it was time to go.
New places, roads and new experiences were waiting for us ahead.

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