Saints Peter and Paul on the island of Golem Grad
This 14th century single nave church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul (Свети Петар и Павле) is located on Golem Grad (Голем Град, also known as Snake Island) on Lake Prespa (Преспанско Езеро). Golem Grad is the only island in the Republic of Macedonia and is within a few kilometers of both Greece and Albania. Golem Grad is part of the Galičica National Park and is home to rare species of fungi and other plants.
To get to this island, we drove down the eastern shoreline of Lake Prespa to a beach south of the village of Dolni Dupeni, where we had arranged for a guide with a boat to take us to the island. This beach, the Dolni Dupeni Plaze is only 50 meters away from the crossing point into Greece. The guide had a small boat with a decent engine, thought it wasn’t fast, but due to leaving early in the morning (when the lake is calm) we had an enjoyable and peaceful ride. An hour and fifteen minutes later of wonderful views and gazing at pelicans and cormorants, we arrived at the island and docked on the southwestern side of the island.
A very short walk from the boats are moored, we found this church. In 2008 the island was opened up to tourists and signs placed around the various attractions and the sign posted here at the church informs us that the church was built in the 14th Century. Our guide informs us that the church was built circa 1360 , during the reign of King Volkashin. This church is also one of seven churches on this island but is the only one fully intact (not in ruins).
Inside, some of the frescoes are still preserved and most interesting is the fresco on the right wall behind the altar that depicts the Star of David. Additionally, there are also frescoes on the exterior of the south side of the church are scenes depicting the “Siege of Constantinople” in 626A.D. (see third gallery below).
Façade – The “Siege of Constantinople”