Monastery St. Jovan Bigorski

Monastery St. Jovan Bigorski

Monastery St. Jovan Bigorski
4.5
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles79 reviews
Excellent
51
Very good
19
Average
8
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Fraelfi
Milan, Italy36 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Amazing and mistic, a wonderful church and the environment. It's near the River Zirovnika, if I am not mistaken, a wonderful nature, water around of as special blue. I left my heart in these places and to a skinny white wandering dog, to whom I left the few food I have praying he will found someone or a restaurant to feed him.
Written March 15, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Film G
New England1,053 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
The monastery complex is large and very well kept. Though much is off limits to tourists, the church is open and is simply wonderful. Immaculate, with lovely icons and other art, it was a favorite in Macedonia. The monks are friendly. Stay, if you can, for vespers or other services. Very special. Clean toilets. At street level there’s a cafe.
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GoranWembley
United Kingdom4,058 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Solo
Sveti Jovan Bigorski (St John of Bigor) is inside Mavrovo NP. The guide books often describe it as a fairytale complex in nature's beauty spot; this is deservedly so. It's a beautiful place to visit. The road views to there are great and they would be even nicer if there weren't some industries like hydroelectric or gravel extraction plants; the monastery is lovely and the natural setting is nice too.

Practical info
The monastery is ideally visited on the expanded tour of Mavrovo NP. I did it on a day trip from Ohrid: Ohrid-Struga-Debar-Sv Jovan Bigorski.

I got to Ohrid's bus station to learn that the first bus to Debar was at 11am. Too late. I took the Ohrid-Struga minibus from the bus stand opposite of the bus station on the road approaching the bus station from the east, or SE maybe. There's no bus station in Struga, but all arriving and departing mini buses stop in front of Admiral Casino which was on my right. I had to wait an hour for the Debar minibus which was at 10am. I found this info from the locals, and in the meantime I visited the lake, the Black Drim river source, and back to the bus stop via Struga's main road. Maximum waiting time from Struga to Debar should be 1.5 hours.

There are buses from Debar bus station to Gostivar or Tetovo and they'll all pass by the monastery. I caught Tetovo bound bus at 11.30. I later discovered there are two bus stations in Deber: old and new! And they're both operating and serving the same destination. There's a bit below how I'd do things differently next time.

The ticket cost to the monastery from Debar can be as much as the ticket from Struga to Debar even though that the distance is twice leas. However, it's still cheap at less than €2. I reminded the driver that I wanted to visit the monastery and he dropped me off at the spot where the minor road leads ip to the monastery. It was maybe a 30 mins ride from Debar.

Coming back to Ohrid was easy. On the main road after the monastery, hitchhiking and got third car lucky; he took me to Deber and didn't want to take the bus money I offered. At Debar new station I discovered that I'd had to wait more than one hour to get on the bus to Stuga. I checked if there was a minibus at the old bus station, which is in the road parallel to where the new station is (one block closer to Debar town centre), but there wasn't. I went to the roundabout where all traffic departing to Debar must pass. I only had to hitchhike for 2 mins before someone stopped. I was in Struga in less than one hour; he took the bus money offered. He left me at the hospital stop in Struga through which the Ohrid minibus passes too. Now the shared taxi asked if I want to go with the formed group for only 20% extra than the minibus fare to which I agreed. So it took c.4 hours from Ohrid to the monastery and just 2 hours to come back.

How I'd do things differently if I'm about to repeat the experience:

There's a main roundabout just before entering Debar with four exits: Struga, Gostivar, Debar (city centre) and something else. The roundabout is closer to the new bus station than to the old one; it's where the mosque minaret is together with another tower next door. All traffic leaving Debar has to pass this roundabout. I'd check if there are any mini buses departing soon to where I want to go first. If not, I'd go into the road serving the destination and hitchhike whilst waiting for the mini bus, just like I did coming back from Debar to Struga.
Written July 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniela S
Tremelo, Belgium916 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Couples
i.e. leaving the nice village of Radozda, in Struga follow the indication to the city of Debar. Drive along the river Crni Drim ( the Black Drim, not at all black, but crystal clear water ) and slowly slowly the mountains are closing you in. Fantastic views all along the way. The road is almost perfect, but like every nice dream, it doesn't last long. After Debar, you need to spot the holes in time...
Anyway, we arrived at the monastery. I just wanted to verify what I read about...yes, I'm like Thomas...I do not believe anything untill I see with my own eyes :)
If you are not properly dressed ( it's a monk monastery and I was wearing shorts ), you get a kind of long black skirt at the entrance, at no charge. The entrance ticket costs 120 MKD, almost 2 euro ( june 2015 ).
What I saw...I've never seen such an amazingly beautiful orthodox church in my life ! And, believe me, I've seen some : the painted churches in North Romania and a few in Russia...but none like this one ! Stunning !
You just cannot describe it...where to start ?!
My best advice : go and see for yourself ! It's one of the highlights of Macedonia !
And the nature ? Fantastic...drive through Mavrovo National Park and stay in Leunovo, at 'Appartments Ana Marija', very peaceful and undisturbed nature.
This was my day ! A beautiful day...
Written June 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelbugVietnam
Vietnam1,648 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Friends
This well kept monastery is just off the main road between Ohrid and Skopje. We were told that our small bus would not be able to negotiate the steep road and we would have to walk. So we did, but we found a new wide asphalt road right up to the door of the monastery. We walked up and got our exercise and then phoned our driver and he collected us later. As we entered the monastery, the women in our group were given long skirts to put on to cover our long pants. We were not given any explanation for this as we were all dressed modestly. We were free to roam around the monastery complex with our guide. The views from this previously isolated monastery were superb. The church was beautiful with many frescoes. We saw other people there talking to the priests in the grounds, as this is a working monastery.
Written October 26, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Toshe_NIK
Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia65 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011 • Friends
The Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski (Macedonian: Свети Јован Бигорски) is a Macedonian Orthodox monastery located in the western part of Macedonia, near the road connecting the towns of Debar and Gostivar.

The monastery church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. According to the monastery's 1833 chronicle, it was built in 1020 by Ivan I Debranin. The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the 16th century. The monastery was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, who also built several monk cells. Later, in the period from 1812 to 1825 the monastery was expanded by archimandrite Arsenius. Among the donors there is also a mention of a monk Lov, recognized by some researchers as the future educator Yoakim Karchovski. One of the most valuable treasures of the monastery is the iconostasis created by Petre Filipovski Garkata from the nearby village of Gari. This iconostasis is considered a most beautiful and most valuable wood-carved iconostasis. Another valuable monastery treasure is an icon dating from 1020 with supposedly miraculous healing power.

Most of the old monastery complex was burnt down in 2009, while the new sections of the complex and church were saved. In May 2010, reconstruction of the old palaces begun with the aim to reconstruct it as authentic as possible.
Written June 19, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Zlatko
Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Couples
Whether you are on a spiritual tour or just sightseeing, this place should be on your list.

Try to schedule your visit in accordance with their activities so you can have a talk with some of Monks.
Written August 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SaleV
Stockholm, Sweden62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Friends
This monastery is my favorit holy place in Macedonia.I higly reccomend it for everybody who came in Macedonia to visit this Monastery becouse there are no word to explain the power of this Monastery.
Is a must to visit it.
Written April 20, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kevin411
Hanoi, Vietnam83 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Family
Nestled in the mountain, the road to get there from Mavrovo National park is beautiful, from the mainroad to the monastery, about 2km, they did some repair and it was really no fun to get up to the mountain, I hope they did finish the repair by now. From the monastery you get really stunning view to the surroundings, including some Muslim villages in the mountain on the opposite side of the valley. It was really a long drive to get there and next to Ohrid, much longer than it looked on Google map.
Written October 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tanja Tasevska
Bitola, Republic of North Macedonia88 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Couples
The monastery is worth to visit, it's impressive.
Monastery buildings restored outside and inside with stunning chapel inside, and beautiful icons all around. You can have a walk around all complex of buildings and also you can talk with some people there. In the yard, there is a souvenir shop where you can buy something to remember this peaceful moment
There is a hotel and restaurant.
From the terrace, you can have a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains.
Entrance is free.
Written January 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Monastery St. Jovan Bigorski, Gostivar

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