This revered 1020 Byzantine monastery surrounded by dense forest is nested above the canyon of River Radika on the foot of Bistra Mountain. The monastery got its name Bigorski because it has been built with large blocks of travertine. The frescoed church houses what is alleged to be St John’s forearm. Bigorski’s awe-inspiring iconostasis was the final of just three carved by local craftsmen Makarije Frčkovski and the brothers Filipovski between 1829 and 1835. This colossal work depicting biblical scenes is enlivened with 700 tiny human and animal figures. Gazing up at the enormous, intricate masterpiece is breathtaking. Upon finishing, the carvers allegedly flung their tools into the nearby Radika River – ensuring that the secret of their artistic genius would be washed away forever. In 1912, the monastery’s inn was burned to ashes but the monastery’s fraternity managed to restore it and today is as impressive as ever, with some excellent views over Mavrovo’s mountains.