Boyana Church is a medieval church on the outskirts of Sofia and is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Bulgarian capital. The church has special cultural and historical value because of its world famous frescoes painted in the 13th century.
Boyana Church is one of the most complete and perfectly preserved remains of Eastern European medieval art with 89 scenes and a total of 240 images painted on its walls.
The oldest part of the building is the east wing which was built in the 11th century. The central section was added in the 13th century under the Second Bulgarian Empire, then it was fully finished with a further expansion to the west in the 19th century.
The frescoes were also painted in three periods, but those from 1259 are the ones that made the church world famous. Their level of realism, precision and skill made the paintings ahead of their time, preceding Renaissance masters by about 100 years. According to leading experts, these frescoes played a vital role in the development of medieval European painting.
Christ Pantocrator, the Virgin and Child, a host of angels with the Four Evangelists, the life of St. Nicholas, Bulgarian Tsar Constantine Asen and two highly admired Bulgarian saints, St. Ivan of Rila and St. Petka are all among the many represented figures and scenes.
Still to this day, researchers are trying to find out the name of the talented master(s) who painted the murals in 1259. Until that happens, the unknown artists who decorated the church are collectively referred to as the Boyana Master.
Located on the slopes of the Vitosha mountain range in the capital’s Boyana district, the recently restored church stands in the middle of a beautiful park with redwoods.
How to get to Boyana Church
Boyana Church is a 20-minute drive (8.5 km) from the city center.
The church can be reached by public transport buses as well.
Bus 64: get off at the stop called Boyansko Hanche (BG: Боянско Ханче). The route of bus 64 can be viewed here.
Bus 107: get off at the stop called Boyana Church (BG: Боянска църква, Boyanska tsarkva). The route of bus 107 can be viewed here.
Address: 3 Boyansko ezero Street, 1616 Boyana, Sofia ; GPS coordinates: 42.645442, 23.265546
Boyana Church is open every day.
April – October: 09:30 – 18:00 (ticket sale until 17:30)
November – March: 09:00 – 17:30 (ticket sale until 17:00)
• Adult – 10 BGN
• Student – 2 BGN
Combined tickets with a validity of one month:
• Boyana Church and the National History Museum – 12 BGN
• Boyana Church, the National History Museum and Zemen Monastery – 14 BGN
• Groups of 10 or more Adults – 7 BGN per person
• Groups of 10 or more Students – 1 BGN per student
• In Bulgarian – 5 BGN
• In a foreign language – 10 BGN
• In Bulgarian with a foreign language interpretation – 6 BGN
• Disabled people and their assistants
• Children under school age
• Every last Monday of the month after 15:00
Due to high interest and low capacity, it is recommended to book your visit in advance, especially for groups.
Reservations can be made by phone or email.
by phone: +359 2 959 09 39 or +359 879 456 635
Reservation requests are only accepted on weekdays from 10:00 to 17:00.
Boyana Church is under the management of the National History Museum of Bulgaria. For more information, visit their website.
What to see nearby
The National History Museum, Bulgaria’s largest museum is just a few streets away towards the city center.
The hiking route to Boyana waterfall, Vitosha’s highest waterfall starts 400 meters from the entrance of the church, at the end of Pop Evstati Vitoshki Street.