Travel blog: St. Yoan Letni chapel

St. Yoan Letni chapel is a small beautiful chapel located close to city of Pernik and around one hour and a half away from Sofia (by car). It is a nice idea for a one-day trip because you can have a picnic there with friends, but you will need a couple of things:

  • Good Internet connection. The first time I tried to go to St. Yoan Letni chapel was in winter and to be honest, I got lost, so my friends and me gave up on the idea. The reason is that on the way to the chapel there are small streets that might confuse you which way you need to go. In general, you go to Potsarnetsi village and turn left behind the supermarket at the main square. After 20 minutes driving on this road you should reach the chapel. A really good idea is to have good Internet connection and use Google Maps Satellite – there you will see the road that will take you to the chapel. 
  • A good jeep. There is no public transport to St. Yoan Letni, so you should rent-a-car or go with a friend who has a car. In any case, make sure that the car you are using is a jeep - the dirt road that takes you to the dam and the chapel might otherwise ruin your car. You can leave your car close to the chapel and just walk there too, so…
  • Bring good shoes. It is not mandatory to bring sports shoes, but you definitely won’t regret it – the chapel is located on a hill, so it is a bit steep and the dirt road might ruin your high heels. 

There are also a few interesting facts and stories linked with this place. One of them is that St. Yoan Letni chapel was built six centuries before Pchelina dam (the beautiful dam that you can see on the photo) – around the year of 1350. Also, on the bottom of Pchelina dam there used to be a village – Pchelintsi village. In 1978 people in the village had to move out so that the dam gets built. An interesting story also refers about the Potsarnentsi village closeby. According to the stories I have read, in 1878 when Bulgaria was liberated and the Ottoman empire left the territory, they burnt down the village and killed the people in it. “Pochernen” (in English language it is close to the word “blacken”) in Bulgarian language refers to the feeling when a relative of a person has passed away – so the village was named “Potsarnentsi”.

I definitely recommend combining a trip to St. Yoan Letni chapel with a visit to Zemen monastery. The monastery is located around 30-40 minutes by car away from the dam. There is also a nice restaurant in the garden of the monastery as well as a couple of nice nature trails closeby. 

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