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Žiča and Studenica – two beautiful Serbian Monasteries

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Visiting two great Orthodox Serbian Monasteries – Zica and Studenica

Like most Bulgarians I am not so good in Serbian history. In Bulgaria most historical places are Orthodox monasteries, so two friends of me and I decided to visit the most famous Serbian monasteries – Žiča and Studenica.

Žiča  Monastery

Over the hills and far away we arrived in the town of Kraljevo. In the town I’m not sure what you can see, but near Kraljevo you can find one of the most beautiful Orthodox monasteries in Serbia.

Žiča Monastery, Serbia, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Serbia

Žiča Monastery

The amazing Zica Monastery

The Zica monastery is magnificent, more like a castle with his walls around and lovely churches inside the walls. It was built at 1205-1208 by the first King of Serbia – Stephan II Nemanjic, who was later crowned in this monastery as and the first Head of the Serbian Church, Saint Sava. Before him the Serbian Grand Princes had been called Veliki Župan, something like king of Serbia and Byzantine prince. The monastery was built in Rascia (Principality of Serbia).

The church of Zica Monastery, Serbia

Zica Monastery, Serbia

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The Rascian architecture was influenced by the Byzantine style and also Romanesque style, which you can see in Zica monastery. Wall-paintings, murals and frescoes are close to Byzantine style while the buildings are more influenced by Romanesque.

Distinctive for this style is also Studenica monastery (Успењу пресвете Богородице). Studenica is the older one, built at 1190, and is located in a stunning area in the Golija Mountain.  The road between the two monasteries follows the Ibar River and passes close to one of the Nemanjić’s fortresses – Maglič, perched on a hill at one of the curves of the river.

Studenica Monastery

Studenica monastery, Serbia

Studenica Monastery

Манастир Студеница / Studenica monastery in Serbia

Studenica turned out to be even more beautiful monastery with many churches behind the walls. The main church Presentation of the Holy Virgin is also a crypt for the founder of Serbian kingdom Stefan Nemanja and his spouse Anastasia of Serbia also his son Stefan the First-Crowned. In the monastery’s yard you can see also ruins of St. John the Baptist church and the church of saints Joachim and Anna built by Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia*. Here I want only to add something for this king, he has been buried in Sofia, in Sveta Nedelia church. Relics of the venerable Serbian king were brought there thanks to Mara Hatun.

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Studenica monastery, southern Serbia

Studenica Monastery

Studenica, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Serbia

Beautiful small chapel in Studenica monastery, Serbia

Beautiful small chapel in Studenica

So it took us only one day and just a short drive away from Sofia to see two beautiful monasteries and a stunning view and to learn more about the history of Serbia and Bulgaria….


* Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia defended Bulgarian interests against Byzantium and he is venerable like defender of Sofia. The church Sveta Nedelya have been named at his honour “Saint King”


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