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Boyana Church: The pearl of medieval art

26/07/2019

Bulgaria is a popular summer destination for all beach lovers. Here you can find long, wide beaches with golden sand, romantic deserted spots, cliffs, caves and beautiful views of the wild jagged coastline. Beaches comprise 130 km of the entire Bulgarian coast, which is almost 380 kilometres long.

But, the beaches aren‘t Bulgaria‘s only attraction… you can also experience wonderful natural treasures in its national parks and reservations, visit numerous monuments, take in historic city centres and unique architecture… all of which makes Bulgaria a magnet for travellers.

Bulgaria‘s highlights also include properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List;

  • the Ancient City of Nessebar, 
  • Boyana Church, 
  • Madara Rider, 
  • Rila Monastery, 
  • the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, 
  • the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, 
  • the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari, 
  • Pirin National Park and 
  • Srebarna Nature Reserve.

Boyana Church, on the outskirts of Sofia.

When you visit the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, it pays to take a trip from the city centre to the outskirts of the city, towards Mt. Vitosha. Hidden, crouching amongst the trees, in the district of Boyana, you will find a quite unique church, which contains one of the world’s most important collections of medieval paintings. These perfectly preserved medieval monuments are a testament to the significant contribution of Bulgarian monumental painting to European culture in the Middle Ages.

What makes Boyana Church so unique?

The Orthodox Boyana Church is so special because of its frescoes (art painted on wet or moist plaster) that can be found in the second section of the church. Boyana Church is composed of three sections, each built during a different period of history - the 10th, 13th and 19th centuries - and there are several layers of wall paintings in its interior which originate from the 11th century onwards. It is a testament to the evolution of artistic expression spanning the last 800 years, and in particular the frescoes, which were painted in 1259, are amongst the most important collections of medieval art in the world.

We can be thankful that this landmark has remained intact, from the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, even surviving through the period of the Ottoman Invasion.

Historians and archaeologists are still trying to establish and confirm exactly which artist created the frescoes found inside the church. At the time of their painting the Orthodox canons did not allow the artist‘s name to be assigned to their work as they believed that the painter was a vessel of God, and thus it was His power alone that moved the artist’s hand. And, the reason that the creator of the frescoes is simply known as the “Boyana Master”, is because his identity still remains a mystery to this day.

Each one of the more than 240 figures depicted in the church contains unique individual subtleties, and in whose painting enormous artistic skill is evident. The portrait of ktitor Sebastocrator Kaloyan and his wife Desislava, and that of Constantine Tikh Asen (who ruled during the period 1257 - 1277) with Tsaritsa Irene, are amongst the oldest paintings of historical figures in existence.

The 18 scenes in the narthex section include elements from the everyday lives of the painters’ contemporaries, as well as a depiction of the life of St. Nicholas – one of the temple’s patron saints. Among the frescoes you can also find the oldest surviving portrait of St. Ivan of Rila, who established the Rila Monastery in the 10th century, and a portrait of St. Ephrem the Syrian, whose spellbinding eyes seem to follow you all around the church.

The church itself is surrounded by a small gated park, which protects it from the busy streets outside. Here you can enjoy some peace and quiet, and perhaps even begin to imagine that you have been magically transported back in time, to the 13th century.

To learn more; visit the Church by yourself, or have a look at its homepage

UNESCO FCC Boyana Church SofiaUNESCO FCC Boyana Church Sofia- frescoes- portrait of DessislavaUNESCO FCC Boyana Church Sofia - frescoes - St Mary

FCC Environment CEE in Sofia

The history of FCC Environment CEE (formerly .A.S.A.) in Bulgaria goes back as far as 2008, when it became the sole-owner of Scheele Bulgaria EOOD. However, the roots of this company actually go back to 1994 when “REB – RWE Entsorgung Bulgaria EOOD” - a subsidiary of the German group of companies RWE (PBE) - was established in the territory of Bulgaria.

Nowadays, FCC Bulgaria EOOD operates in 12 locations.

The headquarters are found in Sofia, where our staff of 106 colleagues provide services like; collection and transportation of household waste, winter services, summer maintenance, manual and mechanical sweeping, bulky waste collection and transportation, as well as street cleaning services.

As we also provide these services in the Boyana quarter, we are proud to say that we can contribute to the preservation of Boyana Church, a unique example of UNESCO cultural heritage.




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  • International team of experts

    Our team of more than 4,400 employees in 8 countries of CEE signs responsible for the smooth operation of all our services.

  • Waste as a resource

    Thanks to modern waste treatment solutions we give 540,000 tons of secondary raw materials a second life annually.

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FCC Environment CEE Group in figures

1 347 trucks and special vehicles

Over 1 300 000 containers and bins

79 collection yards

36 transfer stations

32 sorting plants

8 RDF (alternative fuels treatment)

6 splitting plants

20 mechanical biological treatment plants and/or composting

24 landfills

1 waste-to-energy-plant for household and commercial waste

1 incineration facility for hazardous waste

4.9 mil residents served

5.4 mil t/a of waste processed

8 countries

almost 55 000 industrial clients

Partner of 1 360 municipalities

21 joint-ventures with municipalities

more than 0.54 mil t/a SRM handled

200 GWh/a generated by W2E plants and landfills cogeneration units

4 500 km of streets cleaned

682 hectares of green areas maintained 

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FCC CEE Group has more than 10 years of experience in used clothes business
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300 to 400 kg of compost can be produced from 1 tonne of biodegradable waste
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Metals and glass are 100% recyclable
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In Europe, up to 90% of the green glass bottle is made of recycled glass
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More than 0,7 litres of base lube oil can be produced from 1,0 litre of used mineral oil and is being used for engine, transmission and hydraulic oils
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With the energy needed for productions of 1 drink can from bauxite, it is possible to produce 20 cans from recycled aluminium
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Recycling of 1 tonne of steel saves 1.100 kilograms of coal, and 55 kilograms of limestone
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Used paper can be recycled and used in fresh paper production up to 6 times
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Recycling 1 tonne of paper saves more than 2 tonnes of wood
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1 tonne of refuse-derived fuel produced by FCC CEE Group 600 kilograms of heating oil or more than 800 kilograms of stone coal
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Recycling of plastics saves limited virgin raw materials (crude oil and natural gas) and reduces energy consumption by 80 to 90%