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The Boyana Church National Museum
One of the great cultural and historical sights of Bulgaria, which makes us part of the world civilization, is within the territory of today’s Boyana Quarter of Sofi a. This is the Boyana Church with its unique mural paintings. It was built in 1259 by Sebastocrator Kaloyan during the reign of Constantine Tikh Assen (1257-1277). It consists of three parts: a cross-domed church, St. Nicholas (11th century), a two-storey family tomb with a chapel, St. Pantheleimon, and an extension from 1882. Although closer scrutiny reveals traces of inscriptions on the swords of St. Theodor and St. Demetrius, which are supposed to be the names of the icon-painters, these works have remained anonymous. World art experts call their author the Master of Boyana and his works of art are referred to as the ‘wonder’ of the village of Boyana. This is because he painted 240 images, predecessors of the famous Italian Renaissance, in a humble looking building, and in 1979 the Bulgarian church was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List, alongside the St. Peter Basilica in Rome, Notre Dame de Paris, etc.
            In the middle of the 14th century, a monastery (probably founded by King Ivan Alexander around 1345) not far from there in the Vitosha Mountain, the monastery of Dragalevtsi, received a charter from the Bulgarian King Ivan Shishman (? –1395). In that document, the town in the middle of the Balkans was already called Sofi a. Thus, godparents of today’s capital of Bulgaria became King Ivan Shishman, wisdom (Sophia, from Σoφíα, Greek for “wisdom”) and the ancient Christian basilica of the same name in the city centre.