These pictures were taken during my site visit back in early November. This monastery is one of the most frequently visited in the Balkan Peninsula and is located just outside my new city of Kriva Palanka. It is the monastery of St. Joachim Osogovo–also the guy after whom the Osogovo Mountain range is named. Right next to the monastery is a church, but to be honest every time I’ve been there I have been with people who are telling me different stories–in Macedonian and I haven’t quite figured out the history yet. The fresco to the left is on the ceiling of the walkway (porch-sort of) on the outside of the monastery, but is typical of what is on all the walls and ceilings inside (can’t take pics inside!) It’s being totally restored and the project is almost complete. Also on the grounds is a ‘coffee shop’, a hotel, and a restaurant. Families from around the Balkans come here to picnic and visit the monastery in warm weather. Less than half an hour away over the border in Bulgaria I’m told is a SPA! Wouldn’t it be great to put together a tourist package called “Body and Soul” to bring people to the area? Anyway, it’s rolling around in the back of my mind, and I’m sure there will be more to come regarding this beautiful place in the next couple years. In the last picture, the guy on the right is the department-head where I work at the Municipality. The guy on the left is a friend of his who is in charge of the restoration of the monastery. The inside is almost complete and they’re actually putting central heat in the hotel–yeah!