This is the most beautiful church in Skopje. Dating from the late seventeenth century or the beginning of the eighteenth century, it is dedicated to Sveti Spas, that is, the Ascension of Christ and the Savior: The term Spas refers to both Ascension (40 days after Easter) and Jesus himself. This small Orthodox complex houses one of the country's most precious iconostases and the tomb of the Bulgarian revolutionary of Goce Delčev (1872-1903).
Complex. With a modest size of 3 vessels, the church is part of a small complex built after the great fire that ravaged the city in 1689. Its proximity to the Mustapha Pasha mosque explains its very discreet architecture. Seen from the outside, the church leaves only its roof roof pressed on the wall wall, as well as its Campanile all in black beams. Once in the courtyard, you discover the church at the bottom, down a few steps to reach its entrance clearly below ground level. In fact, during the Ottoman period, the new Christian places of worship should under no circumstances exceed the minarets. It was not to shade the nearby Mustapha Pasha mosque. Also, to give more height to the building, the church of the Saint Sauveur was partly buried. It was changed several times until the nineteenth century.
Iconostase. This bulkhead with icons is exceptional. Completely cut into the droyer, it measures 10 m wide and nearly 7 m high. It was carried out between 1817 and 1824 by the brothers Marko and Petar Filipovski and by Makarie Frčkovski, a trio to whom the iconostasis of the monastery Saint-Jean Bigorvski (Mavrovo National Park) is also owed. All three belong to the Orthodox Slavonic minority of the Mijaks, known for its craftsmen and painters, and located in the Debar region, west of the country, along Albania. Divided into 5 horizontal zones, iconostase counts only 2 registers of icons, also made by mijak craftsmen, the largest of which were added in 1864. Above all, wood work is remarkable. The twisted double columns that support the various elements are cut into a single block of wood. The signs, for their part, are filled with finely carved details: plant motifs, fortified city, animals, monsters, human characters, etc. Notice the 3 men group representing 3 artisans working the wood, tools in hand. Or, again, the biblical scene of Herod's feast where Salomé, to charm the king of Judea and get the head of Saint John Baptist, dance… in a traditional dress Mijak, like on the iconostasis of Saint-Jean Bigorvski. Finally, the ceiling must be noted: they date from the seventeenth century and were rediscovered during restoration work in 1964.
Goce Delčev Sarcophagus. This massive tomb cut into the stone stone in the courtyard of the complex, with, in the neighboring building, a small dusty museum devoted to the revolutionary. The sarcophagus and the remains of Goce Delčev were offered by Bulgaria to Yugoslavia as a sign of friendship in 1946. Relations between the Communist nations are still in the right place. Under pressure from Moscow, Bulgaria recognizes for the first time the existence of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But, as early as 1948, Tito broke with Stalin, and Bulgaria returned to its positions, again considering the small republic as Bulgarian. Sofia, who presented Goce Delčev as a hero of the cause «Macedonian» in 1946, retrograde it to the rank of revolutionary «Bulgarian». Goce Delčev was briefly head of the Macedonian Internal Revolutionary Organization (VMRO). But we do not know whether he was campaigning for an independent Macedonia or attached to Bulgaria. And if he organized the Insurden insurrection (August 1903), he died shortly before the uprising, shot by Ottoman police in the mountains of the present Greek Macedonian, of which he came. Its real role in the independence of the Republic of Macedonia remains unclear. The character is, however, always encroached upon by the authorities in Skopje and his grave continues to be the place of an official ceremony, on May 4, on the date of his assassination.
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