As you walk in the old town of Blagoevgrad, you feel like you are about 40 kilometers away at the foot of Rila Mountain. Because the church “Presentation of the Virgin” resembles the most famous Bulgarian monastery – Rila. And this is no accident because, at the place where the temple in Varosha (the old town) is today, there was a convent of the Rila Monastery.
But this is not the only reason to visit the temple. The 173-year-old church was declared a cultural monument of national significance. Here was the first church school in the city, but in the temple in whose place the church appears. Today, the Lord’s home is astonished by its architectural decisions, frescoes, and icons, some of which unfortunately are almost invisible because of the soot of the candles lit by the believers.
Above the church later was built a tower. Originally, the temple had no narchex and columns. From the very beginning, however, at the entrance of the church, the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius who invented the Bulgarian alphabet known now as Cyrillic were standing as guards. The building was built with funds and volunteer work of all 150 people who then lived in Gorna Dzhumaya (the old name of Blagoevgrad). Everybody helped with what he could. The rich with money, and the others – with unpaid work at the building. Even women and children carried stones for the construction of the church.
The iconostasis inside the temple also resembles that of the Rila Monastery and it is believed that for the most part, it is also the work of the Masters of the Samokov School. A smaller part is made by masters from the Debar School, relying on style experts. The royal icons were made by the famous Dimitar Zograf and his son Nikola Dospevski. Most festive icons are made by masters from Bansko like Dimitar and Simeon Molerov, Michalko Gorev and Dimitar Sirleshtov.
Today in the courtyard of the church you will see the memorial of Gotse Delchev and his family. And since the church is located in Varosha, enjoy the old neighborhood and its white houses from the Revival period. Or take a picture of the cats that are gathered in the yard of the temple to enjoy the sun or if they are lucky to have lunch.