Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Type / Christian religious centre

Studenica Monastery

Studenica Monastery

About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Serbia, Studenica, Kraljevo
Type: Christian religious centre
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Christian Monasteries
World Heritage: Cultural Heritage
Middle AgesChristian MonasteriesChristian religious centreCultural Heritage

In the late 12th century the founder of the medieval Serb state, Stevan Nemanja, established the Studenica Monastery shortly after his abdication. The forests near the river called Studenica were the favorite hunting grounds of the Serbian medieval ruler. It was there that he had chosen to build a monastery which would, in the years to come, become one of the most important religious complexes in the medieval Serbia.
Its two churches - Holy Virgin and the Church of the King, both built of white marble, enshrine priceless collections of 13th- and 14th-century Byzantine painting.
In the center of the complex surrounded by a high wall for protection lies the Church of the Holy Virgin from the 12 th century. The church is a harmonious combination of two architectural concepts: Romanesque, which was the leading style of the West and Byzantine which came from the east. This gave rise to a unique architectural style known as the Raska School. The façade is covered with white marble and has many sculptures. The interior is decorated with monumental frescos which show scenes from the bible and also the founder of the monastery who is painted carrying a model of the church. Stefan Nemanja was buried under this fresco and the legend says that from the wall a spring of Holy water was formed. The most famous fresco shows the crucifixion of Christ .
The later successors on the throne continued to decorate the complex with new churches. King Milutin build in the 14th century a small church known as the King’s church dedicated to the Virgin’s parents SS Joachim and Anne. It was built in the shape of a cross with a dome out of stone and is plastered on the outside. The greatest treasure is the fresco painting which is the work of Michael Astrapa and Eutyches, very famous painters that came from Byzantine to work for King Milutin.
Beside these two churches the complex has two more, the church of St. Nicholas and St. John the Baptist which is in ruins today.

Read more about Studenica Monastery at the Unesco World Heritage List.