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Boyana Church

See an incredible collection of perfectly preserved Eastern European Medieval art at this tranquil 10th-century Bulgarian Orthodox church.

Nestled in the foothills of picturesque Mount Vitosha is the centuries-old Boyana Church, a true gem of Sofia’s architectural landmarks. Marvel at the church’s architecture, which dates back to the late 10th century, and then step inside to discover a collection of Medieval art. The church was originally one of 35 fortresses that protected the ancient streets of Sofia. In 1979 it was added to the city’s collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The church is made up of three separate wings, so take time to see them all. The oldest section is on the church’s eastern side, built between the late 10th century and early 11th century. Check out its simple cross-vaulted style. The Bulgarian nobles Sebastocrator Kaloyan and Desislava then enlarged the church in the 13th century by adding a two-story wing, decorated with ceramics. Note the church’s fortress-like appearance and bricked-in windows.

Inside, you’ll have the chance to admire art from between the 11th and 19th centuries. In total there are 89 scenes and some 240 icons. See a portrayal of Christ Pantocrator and scenes from the Passions of Christ in the church’s oldest section. Look for portraits of Kaloyan and Desislava, as well as paintings of Bulgarian Tsar Constantine Asen Tikh and his wife. Don’t miss the 18 scenes that portray the life of St. Nicholas and representations of two revered Bulgarian saints, St. John of Rila and St. Paraskeva.

Boyana Church is about a 20-minute drive from Sofia’s city center. Public buses stop a short walk from the church’s entrance. If arriving by car then you’ll find free parking on the street that leads to the main entrance. Combine your visit with a visit to Sofia’s National Museum of History, which is just a 5-minute drive away. Find thousands of exhibits that depict the history of Bulgaria, from the prehistoric era to the present day.

Boyana Church is open daily and admission is free. Access to the church’s interior is limited to small groups so expect queues during the busy summer months. Paid guided tours are available and provide insightful information about the church’s history and art.

Popular Activities at Boyana Church

Give yourself lots of time at Boyana Church. Here are some of the most popular activities:

Want to know what other things there are to do at this fascinating attraction? We recommend purchasing a Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Tour.

For even more activities, check out our Sofia things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Boyana Church


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 397 Properties near Boyana Church
All Seasons Residence Hotel
All Seasons Residence Hotel

All Seasons Residence Hotel

Sborishte Square 4, Boyana Discrict, Sofia
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Vitosha District, this luxury hotel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from National Museum of History and within 6 mi (10 km) of National Palace of Culture and Vasil Levski Stadium. Saint Nedelya Church and Russian Church are also within 6 mi (10 km).

    Hotel Villa Boyana ¥4,908
    Hotel Villa Boyana

    Hotel Villa Boyana

    square Sborishte 5, Sofia
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Vitosha District, this hotel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from National Museum of History and 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Mount Vitosha. National Palace of Culture and Vasil Levski Stadium are also within 6 mi (10 km).

      Snug Apartment at foot of mountain ¥5,465
      Snug Apartment at foot of mountain

      Snug Apartment at foot of mountain

      Podgramada 14, Sofia, Sofia Capital Municipality
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Vitosha District, this apartment building is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from National Museum of History and 2.8 mi (4.6 km) from Mount Vitosha. National Palace of Culture and Vasil Levski Stadium are also within 6 mi (10 km).

        Park Hotel & SPA Boyana ¥15,409
        Park Hotel & SPA Boyana

        Park Hotel & SPA Boyana

        18 'Vitoshko Lale' Str., District Boyana, Sofia, Sofia
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Vitosha District, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from National Museum of History and within 6 mi (10 km) of Vasil Levski Stadium and National Palace of Culture. Russian Church and Ivan Vazov National Theatre are also within 6 mi (10 km).

          Earth and People Hotel & Spa ¥5,697
          Earth and People Hotel & Spa

          Earth and People Hotel & Spa

          27 Okolovrasten Pat, Sofia
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in rayon Triaditsa, this spa hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of National Museum of History, Vitoshka Boulevard, and Borisova Gradina Park. Vitosha Blvd and Tokuda Hospital are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Festa Sofia ¥6,149
            Festa Sofia

            Festa Sofia

            83 Bulgaria Boulevard, Sofia
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in rayon Triaditsa, this hotel is 1.3 mi (2 km) from National Museum of History and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from National Palace of Culture. Vitosha Blvd and Vitoshka Boulevard are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Michelle Apartment Sofia
              Michelle Apartment Sofia

              Michelle Apartment Sofia

              Bulgaria Blvd. 88, Sofia
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Vitosha District, this apartment building is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from National Museum of History and 2.6 mi (4.2 km) from National Palace of Culture. Vitosha Blvd and Vitoshka Boulevard are also within 2 mi (3 km).

                Guest House Alina ¥3,717
                Guest House Alina

                Guest House Alina

                ul. Professor Atanas Ishirkov 13, Sofia, Sofia City Province
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Vitosha District, this guesthouse is 3 mi (4.8 km) from National Museum of History and within 6 mi (10 km) of Vasil Levski Stadium and Ivan Vazov National Theatre. Russian Church and National Archaeological Museum are also within 6 mi (10 km).