Saint Nicholas – Свети Никола (Sveti Nikola) in Gradešnica (Gradeshnitsa)
Following the main road into the village of Gradešnica leads you to the center plaza where you will find the church and a zadruga (general store). We parked in front of the store and went inside hoping to buy some cold drinks to cut the dust off of the day’s travel and some snacks to reenergize and keep us going until dinner tonight in Bitola. The drinks were very cold and we enjoyed chatting with the proprietor and a young lad there while we refreshed ourselves. On a shelf behind the counter the proprietor had a Nazi style helmet he claimed it was from World War II and was offering to sell it for a hundred Euros. We were tempted but passed on the offer.
The proprietor informed us that we didn’t need a key for the church and it’s open to the public, so we walked over to visit the church. After a prayer and lighting some candles, we enjoyed viewing the church, architecture and frescoes. We couldn’t find the light switch but felt the ambient light to be really enjoyable (though difficult for taking pictures).
The date of the original church is not known, but an inscription reveals this church was restored in 1863 with pieces later removed as building materials for WWI trench warfare. The church was renovated again in 1923 and in 1927 Costa Nikolic from Selo Lazaropole led the effort to restore the frescoes.