Kazakhstan mountains as seen from Almaty's Botanical Gardens.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Bangkok, Thailand.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Amazing history and paintings at the Patriarchate of Peja Monastery

Another gorgeous blue sky day. Would have loved to go up into the mountains again, but we're here for a week so we have lots of time. Besides, we needed to give our legs a rest from the hike the day before. So we decided to stay in town and see what there is to see. That still involved some walking, but at least it wasn't uphill.

First stop was the Rugova Canyon visitors center. They have four different via ferrata routes in the canyon and we want to do some of them. We really enjoyed when we did the via ferrata in Norway and have been looking forward to doing another one.

It turns out that if you have prior experience, you can go without a guide so you just need to rent the safety harness and equipment. Here at Rugova Canyon it is only €8 ($10.85 CAD, $7.90 USD) per person, so it will be a lot cheaper than in Norway!

We're going to do it on Thursday if the weather still looks good, which so far it does.

From there, we continued to the UNESCO listed Patriarchate of Peja Monastery. This religious complex was built in the 1300's... about 700 years ago!

There is no charge to enter, however they do require passport or other ID. 

Entrance gate to the complex.

You have to walk down this entrance road.

And then you come to another gate with beautiful gardens on the other side.

Map of the Monastery complex.

The gardens are really pretty with lots of flowers, but the church is definitely the highlight.

There are ruins of other structures, but we're not sure why the church survived and these didn't.

The church is actually four separate churches... three of which are attached to one another.

Pretty painting.

You never know what to expect with churches. Sometimes the exterior is ornate and the interior is very plain. Sometimes the opposite is true, with a very plain exterior and fantastic interior. And sometimes it is both.

We were pretty surprised when we walked into this one!

The entire interior is painted with frescoes.

This mausoleum is the home of the first Archbishop of the church.

He was the archbishop from 1325 to 1337.

Looking up.

The main hall.

It was at this time that one of the nuns mentioned to us that no photographs are allowed inside. Strange, because we never saw any signs or rules stated at the entrance. And why not? Who knows. Anyhow, we stopped taking photos at this point, and really, there were one or two more that I wanted to take! You'll just have to go and see for yourself!

Back outside.

This is the nuns residence which is private.

The tower.

Definitely a recommended visit for anyone in Peja. It turns out there is another monastery in nearby Desan which also has a fantastic interior which some reviews say is even better than this one.

From there, we walked to the WW1 cemetery...

And then to these two old tower buildings, but other than the exterior there isn't much to see. 

This one is now a hotel and restaurant.
We might go eat there later on in the week.

This one is now used by the ministry of culture.

We stopped and bought some groceries, then went back home for a late lunch. We had planned on going out again later in the afternoon, but I ended up having a nap and we just never made it back outside.

This morning we are going to meet a couple from Scotland... they are fellow van travelers and blog readers who happen to be in the area and sent us a note asking if we wanted to meet up. And we do! So we are off to visit a waterfall together.

Record low deal on Apple iPads.

And in Canada...

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