Zemen Monastery is a Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox
religious complex dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist. It was found in
the 11th century by a small groupf of monks who settled the North- East
slopes of Konyavska mountain in the beginning of the Zemen Gorge.
Zemen Monastery stands 1 km South- East of the town of Zemen near
Pernik on the left bank of the Struma river.
Zemen Monastery is modest in size. Its complex
consists of a main church, a bell tower and two building that served
as living quarters for the monks. The main church of the Zemen
Monastery is the most remarkable part of the complex and is declared
as a cultural monument. It dates back to the 11th century. it
measures 9.2 meters in length, 8.7 meters in width with a
total height of 11.2 meters. Frescoes in the main church of Zemen
Monastery date back to the 14th century.
Unusual feature of the church is that besides saints and Biblical scenes it
depicts portraits of medieval people who helped the Zemen Monastery financially or
just by providing their manual labor on a site. Besides some of the stories
that told in paintings reflect apocryphal or non- canonic interpretations of
some of the events in the New Testament. It is currently a cultural
museum in the possession of the government. No monks live in Zemen