Holy Archangel Michael Monastery Varos
Holy Archangel Michael Monastery Varos is one of the most beautiful and the most significant Medieval Monastery in Macedonia, located within the picturesque landscape of impressive granite rocks Varosh area, near the town of Prilep. The Towers of Marko /Markovi kuli – town of Marko/ was settlement built on the massive stone outcropping containing a stronghold first built in the 2nd or 3rd century BC. The Medieval town of Prilep was at the foothill of the rocky Varosh area, known as the Markovi kuli – the towers of Marko, built on the place of the Roman settlement of Ceramiae. The Varosh complex resembles the ‘eagle’s nest’ among the magnificent rocks, on the south-western side of the Markovi kuli – the Marko’s towers. The Varosh Monastery complex in Prilep includes foundations of necropolis and settlements from the Bronze and Iron ages, thermal spas from the Roman period and numerous well preserved cultural-historical monuments from the Middles ages. Varosh area dates from the ancient history, built for defensive purposes, but it persisted through the Medieval period. The remains of preserved Medieval Varosh churches undoubtedly prove the intense life that evolved in the Middle Ages. In the 14th century the King Marko Mrnjavcevic built upon this a defensive stronghold. After death of King Marko, in the Maritza Battle in 1395, the town of Prilep was conquered by the Turks, who built the town we see today, whose remains are pretty well preserved.
The Holy Archangel Michael Monastery complex in Varosh includes the wonderful church dedicated to Saint archangel Michael, dating probably either from the 10th century or from the second half of the 12th century. The Varosh complex also contains the beautiful Dormitory facing the broad valley below, built in the 19th century by the Prilep guilds which features wonderful characteristics of the town architecture and guild inscriptions in the dormitory rooms.
The church of the Holy archangel Michael in Varos is one nave structure, with the dome above the central part, and a semi-circular apse on the eastern side. The beautiful church was originally constructed of layers of bricks and stone, and dominates the Varos area. The Saint Archangel’s church Varos features an open porch with a bell on the west side. There is only one window preserved until today, on the original upper part of the southern facade of the western part of the Holy Archangel Michael church.
Legend has it that King Marko built the church with stolen funds, resulting in a curse on the church and its eventual abandonment. The legend continues that the Archangel Michael spoke to a woman named Mary in a dream and based on this dream, Mary was able to rebuild the monastery with help from people in the Prilep area. In folk tradition, are mentioned the chapel dedicated to Saint Luke, while in the charter of King Dusan, along with the Treskavec Monastery are also listed several churches : St. John the Baptist, St. George, Sveti Vrachi /Holy Healers/, St. Theodore and St. Demetrius. From the number of churches built in the Varosh area, today are preserved: Saint Nicholas /Sveti Nikola, built in 1299/, Monastery of St. Archangel Michael /Manastir Sveti Arhangel Mihajlo/, St. Demetrius /Sveti Dimitrije/, St. Athanasius /Sveti Atanasije/, Saints Peter and Paul /Sveti Petar i Pavle/ and chuch of the Holy Virgin /Sveta Bogorodica/.
Visitors can reach the Holy Archangel’s Monastery in Varos by foot, using the walk stone trail which connects the monasteries in this area or by car using the asphalt road.
From the remains of the Markovi kuli – town of Marko spreads magic panorama of Prilep and the Pelagonia Plain, with magnificent mountains in the hinterland.