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Monastery Tour of Serbia (2 days)




Intriguing beauty:
a detail from Studenica

Unique experience:
messages from the past

Mighty isolation: 
Manasija monastery



The medieval splendor of Serbia 

 
The tour of Serbian monasteries will help guide the visitor in communicating with the past and in deriving the utmost pleasure from this unique experience. It will encourage the traveler to prepare himself mentally and spiritually for a confrontation with the past, i.e. to be ready to hear the echoes of distant times and to experience the noise, clamor and picturesque life of towns contrasted with the complete silence, serenity and religious commitment of the monastic community. The Monastery Tour opens the way to 'restoration' of sometimes ruined monuments, of the religious, social and artistic creations of the medieval Serbo-Byzantine world, and imparts to visitors the authentic stamp of history. 

The deep impression left by the exterior and interior of a medieval monastery is reinforced by its pleasant and attractive setting. These mainly secluded sites, often concealed, isolated and even fortified, illustrate that the intellectual climate, cultural life, traditional values and monasticism had to be protected under the oppressive dominance of Ottoman Turks - by natural shelters, defensive walls, faith in God and love. As a divine institution of Serbian Orthodox Church, the monasteries were bastions of the Serbian nation, its freedom, national dignity and socio-cultural particularity.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

 

Tour # 13 

Monastery Tour

2 days/1 night, by car or minivan

 


Highlights

Manasija
monastery (founded by Despot Stefan Lazarevic in the first half of the 15th century) has the best  preserved medieval fortification in the country. Its high defensive walls were once additionally protected by 12 towers and a series of hanging machicolations. Within this fortified enclosure there are today: the ruins of the old Refectory, the reconstructed monastic residence with a valuable private library and the Church of the Holy Trinity with its exceptionally fine fresco paintings.


Ravanica monastery (founded by the Serbian Prince Lazar in the second half of the 14th century) is the most typical example of what is called the Morava school of Serbian medieval architecture. The monastery's five-domed Church of the Ascension displays rather badly damaged but very fine frescoes. A transparent coffin containing relics of the great and highly devoted Prince Lazar, killed in the battle of Kosovo in 1389 and soon afterwards declared saint, is now displayed in this church (the relics can be seen only on Sundays).


Lazarica Court Church (founded by the Serbian Prince Lazar around 1380) represents a fine architectural achievement adorned with rich carved stone decoration on the arches, rosettes, windows and portals. It is situated in the town of Krusevac, once the capital of the Lazar's state. As one of the earliest monuments of the Morava school it long served as a model for Serbian builders.


Studenica monastery (founded by Stefan Nemanja, who took monastic orders there choosing the name Simeon) is considered to be the crowning achievement of medieval culture and art in Serbia. The monastic complex consists of the fascinating Church of the Virgin (1183-1196), the Church of SS Joachim and Anne (also known as the King's Church) and the Church of St. Nicholas, a simple single-nave building. The monastery circle contains monuments raised over a period of 130 years and several Serbian rulers had a hand in their construction. At the start of this period, the young Serbian feudal state under Nemanja was consolidating its independence, and by Milutin's reign it had reached the height of its political, cultural and economic power. The strengthening of the medieval state and of its ruler's might is naturally reflected in these monuments.


Zica monastery (founded by the Serbian King Stefan "the First-Crowned" at the beginning of the 13th century) is of great historical importance. The Church of the Ascension served as the first see of the independent Serbian Archbishopric and played a very important role in the religious, political and cultural life of mediaeval Serbia. In its basic features, the architecture of Zica, which has undergone considerable changes, belongs to the oldest school of Serbian medieval architecture. The interior fresco decoration dates from various periods.


Ljubostinja monastery (founded by Prince Lazar's wife, Princess Milica in 1388) with its Church of the Dormition of the Virgin is considered to be one of the most elegant architectonic monuments of mediaeval Serbia: the domed building, situated in a very pleasant environment, displays the form of an inscribed cross combined with a trefoil. This is maybe the only Serbian monastery where the names of both the chief builder and painter have been preserved.


 

 
 Tour Program

Day 1
BELGRADE-MANASIJA-RAVANICA-LAZARICA-
LJUBOSTINJA-VRNJACKA SPA
Departure at 8.30 a.m. Drive along the Belgrade-Nis highway. A visit to the Manasija monastery. Then on, via the scenic old road, to the Ravanica monastery (visit). An optional lunch may be arranged at one of the restaurants en route. Leave for Krusevac, the medieval capital of Serbia during the time of Prince Lazar (in the second half of the 14th century). You will see the Archaeological Park with its remains of Lazar's Court, Donjon tower, ramparts and the Lazarica Court Church. Leave for the Ljubostinja monastery (visit) where you can buy some home-made red wine or honey of exquisite quality. Accommodation at the hotel in Vrnjacka Banja (Spa), the best-known and developed Serbian spa resort. Dinner, overnight.


Day 2
VRNJACKA SPA-STUDENICA-ZICA-BELGRADE

After breakfast we explore some older monuments of the past. Drive to the Studenica monastery, the crowning achievement of medieval sacral architecture and art in Serbia (visit). An optional lunch may be arranged at the restaurant near the monastery. In the afternoon we visit the Zica monastery, which served as the first see of the independent Serbian Archbishopric. On the way back, a short rest-stop at a motel of the Nis-Belgrade highway. Return to Belgrade in the evening.

Dinner on first day. 
Breakfast on second day.
Accommodation 3*.

 

 

 

Monastery Tour Prices

Please note:

Departures on request only. The tour by car (up to 3 persons) or by minivan (up to 6 persons) is with a professional driver and the guide. Your stay in Belgrade can be arranged. The tour can be combined with our Belgrade tour packages. Entrance to Churches and Monasteries on our tours requires appropriate attire. Please remember to be properly dressed: no shorts, no uncovered shoulders.

 
Other multi-day tours:
Vojvodina Tour (2 days)
'Sargan 8' Tour (2 days)

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Belgrade Sightseeing

BELGRADE SIGHTSEEING / BBRANKO RABOTIC PhD
Phone/fax: (++38111) 386.11.53, GSM: (++38163) 854.26.48 
(Calls to GSM from inside Serbia: 063 854.26.48)
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