The Boyana church is a medieval orthodox Bulgarian church situated on the outskirts of Sofia. The church was added in the UNESCO heritage list in 1979.
The Eastern Church was built in the 10th century, and then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th century by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two building to be erected next to it. The frescoes in this second church, painted in 1259, make it one of the most important collections of medieval paintings. The ensemble is completed by a third church, built at the beginning of the 19th century. This site is one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of east European medieval art.
There are several layers of wall paintings in the interior from the 11th, 13th, 15-17th and 19th centuries which testify to the high level of wall painting during the different periods. The paintings with the most outstanding artistic value are those from 13th century. Whilst they interpret the Byzantine canon, the images have a special spiritual expressiveness and vitality and are painted in harmonious proportions. Today the name “Boyana Master” stands for the team of unknown artists who decorated the church and mastered their art in the studios of the Turnovo School of Painting. Boyana is the only and the most impressive wholly preserved monument of the Turnovo School of Painting from the 13th century.
From an architectural point of view, Boyana Church is a pure example of a church with a Greek cross ground-plan with dome, richly decorated facades and decoration of ceramic elements. It is one of the most remarkable medieval monuments with especially fine wall paintings.
The church was closed to the public in 1954 in order to be conserved and restored. It was only partially reopened in 2006.
As a protection measure, air-conditioning was installed to keep the temperature at 17-18 degrees Celsius (62-64 Fahrenheit), with low-heat lighting. Groups of visitors are permitted to stay only for 15 minutes.