2010 Ikon Tour
We invite you to join Metropolitan Moses on a truly unique pilgrimage tour of the museums, churches, and monasteries of Serbia/Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, and Northern Greece.
IkonTour 2010 ‒ The Byzantine Treasures of the Central Balkans
11 – 29 October 2010 (17 nights)
Land Only Price: $2,993 per person, twin share*
Contact Mary Beth Lytle • 520-881-5545 • info@...
*Price includes 17 nights accommodation in 4-star or superior 3-star hotels; breakfast daily and farewell dinner on the last night; ground transportation by private, chauffeur-driven touring coach from Belgrade to Thessaloniki; local bilingual guides; entry to all sites listed in the itinerary; full-time, professional tour manager; souvenir guidebook tote bag, and luggage tag.
Oct 11 (Mon) Travel Day
Oct 12 (Tue) Belgrade
Arrive Nikola Tesla International Airport. (Hotel Zira, 1 night)
Oct 13 (Wed) Despotovac, Ravanica, Kruševac
Manasija Monastery was founded by Despot Stefan Lazarevic. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected and painted between 1307 and 1418. Architecturally, the church belongs to the Morava School. The frescos of Ravanica, in the decorative style, are of a heightened and delicate sensibility. Lazarica is important because it breaks with the previous tradition of Nemanjić church architecture. (Hotel Golf, 2 nights)
Oct 14 (Thu) Trstenik, Kalenić, Kraljevo
Ljubostinja Monastery was founded by Princess Milica and Prince Lazar in 1388. After the battle of Kosovo, Princess Milica became a nun and spent the rest of her life here. Studenica Monastery, dedicated to the Presentation of the Holy Virgin, is best known for its 13th- and 14th-century Byzantine-style frescos. Kalenić monastery is a foundation of Protovestiar Bogdan, his wife Milica, and his brother Peter. The church was built and painted from 1407-13. Painted dark-red in the tradition of the Mount Athos monasteries, Žica Monastery is one of Serbia’s most memorable landmarks. Symbolically, it stands an equal distance from Rome and Constantinople.
Oct 15 (Fri) Prijepolje
The 13th-century frescos of Mileševa Monastery, painted by the most skillful artists of the time, include the most famous in Serbian culture: the “White Angel.” The church, dedicated to the Ascension of Our Lord, was the final resting place of Saint Sava, whose relics were removed and burned by the Turks in 1594. (Hotel Tadz, 2 nights)
Oct 16 (Sat) Novi Pazar
The ruins of Djurdjevi Stupovi Monastery, the endowment of Stefan Nemanja, overlook the city of Novi Pazar. The complex, including the Church of Saint George, was built in the 12th century. Sveti Petar i Pavle u Rasu is a small church built in the 8th or 9th century, the only pre-Nemanjić church in Serbia. Saint Nemanja, the founder of the Serbian medieval dynasty, was baptized in this church. Of all the medieval monasteries in central Serbia, Sopoćani has retained the most impressive frescos and icons.
Oct 17 (Sun) Dečani, Gračanica
Dečani is a pearl of medieval Serbian Christian art. Its celebrated 14th-century frescos comprise more than 1,000 figures and scenes from all the major themes of the New Testament. Gračanica is the last and the best of King Milutin’s Byzantine-style churches. Its frescos, painted by Mihajlo and Eftihije, were completed in 1321. (Hotel Bellevue, 3 nights)
Oct 18 (Mon) Kumanovo, Sušica, Skopje
The ethereal 14th-century Sveti Gjorgi in Staro Nagoricane is richly decorated with frescoes painted from 1317-18 by Mihajlo and Eftihije, two of the greatest painters in the Byzantine Balkans. The construction of the church dedicated to Sveti Demetrius at Markov Monastery began during the reign of King Volkashin (1346/47), but was completed and painted some 30 years later. The best room of the Macedonian National Museum is the Icon Gallery, housing a priceless collection of icons, the most famous of which is the Bogorodica Pelagonitisa painted for the iconostasis of Zrze Monastery.
Oct 19 (Tue) Banjani, Gorno Nerezi, Matka
In a monastery complex on Skopje’s Black Mountain, Sveti Nikita dates from the early 14th century and contains many important and unique frescos by the renowned Balkan painters Mihajlo and Eftihije. The frescos of Sveti Panteleimon in the village of Nerezi are outstanding examples of Macedonian medieval monumental painting in the later 12th century. Sveti Andrej was built in 1389 along the Treska River just minutes walking distance from Lake Matka.
Oct 20 (Wed) Debarsko, Ohrid
The incredible hand-carved iconostasis of Sveti Jovan in Bigorski Monastery has over 200 human and 500 animal figures. Sveta Sofija Cathedral is famous for its 11th- and 12th-century frescos. (Hotel Cingo, 3 nights)
Oct 21 (Thu) Ohrid
Sveta Bogorodica Perivlepta is one of the most beautiful churches in Ohrid, above all, for its frescos. Among the many icons exhibited in the Ohrid Icon Gallery are at least thirty estimated as masterworks. Overlooking Lake Ohrid is the church dedicated to Sveti Jovan with its unique architecture and 13th-century frescos. Sveti Pantelejmon is a recent reconstruction of a 10th-century church set amidst the ruins of a 5th-century basilica complex. In the isolated cave church of Sveti Erasmus, the greatest attention should be paid to the portraits of Saint Erasmus and Byzantine emperor Andronicus II Paleologus.
Oct 22 (Fri) Ohrid
The frescos of the church containing the tomb of Sveti Naum, date from the first half of the 18th century.
Oct 23 (Sat) Kurbinovo
Near the village of Kurbinovo, the monastery church dedicated to Sveti Gjorgi is known for its 12th-century frescos, pearls of Macedonian medieval art. (Hotel Aiolis, 2 nights)
Oct 24 (Sun) Kastoria
The Byzantine Museum has a collection of some 700 icons from the city’s 75 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches, 35 of which are on permanent display. The most famous church of Kastoria is the striking Panayia Koumbelidiki, an architectural gem built in the first half of the 11th century. The wall paintings of Taxiarches Mitropoleos, a three-aisled, vaulted basilica, date from the 10th century. Ayioi Anargyroi is an impressive 10th-century basilica with magnificent wall paintings from the 12th century.
Oct 25 (Mon) Veroia
The wall paintings of the 11th-century Old Metropolis rank among the most important examples of Byzantine painting of the early 13th century. Georgios Kalliergis decorated the Church of Christ. His wall-paintings are characterized by the use of many colors and demonstrate his profound theological knowledge. The church of Sotiros Kalothetou Monastery was built in 1315, and is magnificently frescoed. (Hotel El Greco, superior 3-star, 4 nights)
Oct 26 (Tue) Thessaloniki
The preeminent Museum of Byzantine Culture covers 1,100 years of Byzantine culture from its origins in late antiquity to the fall of Constantinople. Ayios Nikolaos Orfanos is an unprepossessing brick-and-stone church holding an astonishing treasure of well-preserved frescoes of the 14th century, the zenith of Thessaloniki’s artistic excellence. Standing below the level of the modern-day street is Panayía Acheiropoietos, its 5th-century mosaics restored.
Oct 27 (Wed) Thessaloniki
Free day for shopping and sightseeing.
Oct 28 (Thu) Thessaloniki
Ayios Dimitrios is the site of the martyrdom of Saint Dimitrios. Some of its 5th- to 7th-century mosaics survive. Artisans and archaeologists work with literally millions of tesserae to restore the dazzling mosaics in Ayios Yioryos, a pagan mausoleum converted to a church in the 4th century by Emperor Saint Theodosius. Nothing about Osios David’s simple exterior can prepare you for the glorious mosaic of the vision of Ezekiel inside – there is no finer in the city. The new church of Saint Gregory Palamas contains the Saint’s relics. The 9th-century Ayia Sofia was inspired by Emperor Saint Justinian’s Cathedral of Ayia Sofia in Constantinople. Some original mosaics have survived, including some from the iconoclastic period. Farewell Dinner.
Oct 29 (Fri) Travel Day
Depart Makedonia International Airport for flights homeward.