Serbs and Montenegrins are both Orthodox religion. There are a lot of Orthodox medieval monasteries throughout those two countries, so rich in history and art. Join us on this beautiful tour.
Arrival at Belgrade`s international airport. Welcome by a local host and transfer to hotel. Check-in and short refreshment in hotel. Belgrade city tour with special attention to St.Sava Temple – the biggest Orthodox Temple on the Balkans. Visit to monastery in Rakovica (if time permits). Welcome dinner in restaurant. Transfer back to hotel.
Breakfast in hotel. Boarding the coach and transfer to the only mountain in northern part of the country – Fruska Gora. Visit to Krusedol and Novo Hopovo monasteries.
The Krusedol monastery is the legacy of the last Serbian despot family of Srem – Brankovic. It is shown on the 5 dinar coin. Krusedol Monastery was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1990 and it is protected by the Serbian state. Monastery church is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin. Remains of the holy relics of Brankovic Family are nowadays kept in the Krusedol Monastery treasury, in special coffins. The most precious among the historical values of Krusedol Monastery is the iconostasis which among 36 icons comprises an icon dating from the 15th century. There is one more interesting story about the monastery: writer Laza Kostic left to Krusedol Monastery because of his unfulfilled love with the beautiful, 30 years younger Lenka Dundjerski. Soon after that, young girl died. In despair and hoping that he will meet Lenka in the afterlife, Laza Kostic wrote one of the most beautiful poets-love songs in Serbian “Santa Maria della Salute.”
Hopovo Monastery was founded in the early 16th century in the heart of the Fruska Gora Mountain, 30 km from Sremski Karlovci. It was founded on the ramparts of an earlier church from 10th century. In the monastery church, the holy relics of St Teodor Tiron (4th century) are kept, and these ate the oldest and the most complete relics that the Serbian Orthodox Church has an Honor to keep. For certain period of time the Hopovo Monastery was seat of the episcopate and Monastery School, and residence of famous cultural inventor and writer Dositej Obradovic.
Transfer to Sremski Karlovci town. Lunch in the restaurant. Sremski Karlovci city tour where we will visit Patriarchy Residence, Orthodox Cathedral, Karlovci Grammar School, Chapel of Peace, Town Hall and Theological School and Seminary. Transfer to Novi Sad and city tour. Dinner at traditional Vojvodian farmhouse. Transfer back to hotel in Belgrade.
Breakfast in hotel and check-out. This day we are moving slowly to the south of the country. First stop is Topola. Visit to King Peter`s Endowment with astonishing St.George Church. Visit to Manasija and Ravanica monasteries.
The church of Manasija Monastery is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It is one of the most significant monuments of medieval Serbian culture and it belongs to the “Morava school“. The monastery compound was encircled and protected by strong walls with eleven towers and trenches. Its School of Resava was well known for its manuscripts and translations throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. During the Ottoman rule, at one point, the lead roof was removed from the church, and so for over a century the frescoes inside were subject to damage by rainfall. Two compositions cover the whole first and second register in the altar: the first represents the Adoration of the Lamb, the other the Communion of Apostles. Manasija complex was declared Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia, and monastery have entered a UNESCO Tentative List Process in 2010.
Ravanica monastery, together with the Church of the Holy Ascension, and its buildings surrounded by strong defensive walls with seven towers, lies at the foot of the Kucaj Mountains. It was the endowment of Prince Lazar. It was built during the period between 1375 and 1377, and its frescoes were painted in the years preceding the Battle of Kosovo.
Lunch in the restaurant. Visit to Ljubostinja monastery near city of Trstenik. Transfer further to Kraljevo. Check-in and dinner in hotel.
Located in the small mountain valley of the Ljubostinja river, Ljubostinja monastery is dedicated to the Holy Virgin. In Ljubostinja were buried Princess Milica, Lazar Hrebeljanovic’s wife and Nun Jefimija, which after the Battle of Kosovo became a nun along with a number of other widows of Serbian noblemen, who lost their lives in the battles on the river Maritsa and Kosovo Polje. After the collapse of Kocine rebellion, Turks burned the monastery to revenge the Serbs, and most of the frescoes were destroyed. Also, when the monastery was set on fire, a secret treasure was discovered hidden in the monastery wall behind icons in which the Princess Milica hid their treasure. Among the stolen treasure was located Crown of Prince Lazar, which is now in Istanbul.
Breakfast in hotel. This day we will visit group of monasteries at the Ovcar-Kablar Gorge, which is also known as Serbian Athos. Along with cultural aspect, You will also be charmed by beautiful natural landscape. Lunch in restaurant. Return back to Kraljevo and dinner in hotel.
In the picturesque gorge of the Weste Morava, on the precipitous slopes of Ovcar and the Kablar mountains, there is a unique community of monasteries known collectively as the Serbia Holy Mountain. The monasteries were erected in XIV and XV centuries, in the turbulent times when the Turkish Empire put the Serbian teritory under their control. Retreating from the Turkish conquerors, Serbian monks found a shelter in the impassable gorge. In this small place, about ten monasteries were erected and for centuries they were the places where the orthodox spirituality and national awareness of the Serbs were preserved. The monasteries of Blagovestenje, Vavedenje, Vaznesenje, Ilinje, once almost impossible to reach, are today connected with each other by an arthery. However, it is still only possible to reach the monastery of Jovanje bu boat or ferry via river.
Breakfast in hotel and check-out. Visit to Zica monastery. Transfer further to Studenica monastery. Visit and lunch at monastery`s lodge. Visit to Gradac monastery. Arrival in Novi Pazar. Check-in in hotel and dinner.
Zica monastery, together with the Church of the Holy Dormition, was built by the first King of Serbia, Stefan the First-Crowned and the first Head of the Serbian Church, Saint Sava. Zica is an important monastery for the history of Serbian people and their Church. Saint Sava, as the first archbishop of independent Serbian Church, returns to Serbia in 1207, taking the remains of his father with him, which he relocates to the Studenica monastery, after reconciling Stefan II with Vukan, who had earlier been in a successation feud (civil war). Stefan II asks him to remain in Serbia with his clerics, which he does, starting a widespread pastoral and educational duty to the people of Serbia. He founds several churches and monasteries, among them the Zica monastery. St. Sava made this monastery the center of the Church, which gained independence in 1219. Saint Sava also crowned his brother Stefan I and ordained the first bishops there. By tradition monastery church was the coronation church of the Serbian kings, although a king could be crowned in any Serbian church, he was never considered a true king until he was anointed in Zica.
Studenica Monastery is one of the largest and richest Serb Orthodox monasteries. Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the medieval Serb state, founded the monastery in 1190. The monastery’s fortified walls encompass two churches: the Church of the Virgin, and the Church of the King, both of which were built using white marble. The monastery is best known for its collection of 13th- and 14th century Byzantine-style fresco paintings.
Studenica was declared Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia, and in 1986 UNESCO included Studenica monastery on the list of World Heritage Sites. The church was painted in the first decade of the thirteenth century. The original frescoes have been partly preserved in the altar area, under the dome, on the west wall, and in the lower registers of the nave. The most splendid representation is that of the Crucifixion, painted on blue background in 1209, one of the paramount achievements in Serbian art. On the south wall there is the “founders’ composition” which shows the Virgin taking Nemanja-Simon with the church model to Jesus Christ as the Magistrate Impartial. Since the fall of the last of the medieval Serbian states in 1459, the Turks often assaulted the monastery. The first of the significant restorations of the damage took place in 1569, when the frescoes in the Church of the Presentation were repainted. In the early seventeenth century, an earthquake and a fire befell the monastery, and historical documents and a significant part of the artistic heritage were destroyed and lost forever. Northward from the Studenica refectory is the eighteenth century monastic residence, now housing a museum and displaying a number of the precious exhibits from the Studenica treasury. However, the frequent wars and plunders have considerably reduced the richest depository of Serbian spiritual life and culture in general.
The church of Gradac Monastery, dedicated to The Annunciation of the Holy Mother of God, was erected in the late 13th century by the Serbian Queen Jelena of the Anjou and her husband Uros I Nemanjic. Small Church of Saint Nicholas is located on the southeastern border of the monastery yard. It is thought that the church was built before the main monastery church in order for services to be held there for Roman Catholic workers, while work was in progress on the Church of the Mother of God. The exact year of construction of the monastery is not known, but it is probably in the last quarter of the 13th century. Monastery was built in the style of the Raska School
Breakfast in hotel. Visit to Petrova Church, Djurdjevi Stupovi and Sopocani monasteries. Lunch in the restaurant. Novi Pazar city tour. Dinner in hotel. Free evening.
The Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, also known as Petrova Crkva (Peter’s Church) is among the oldest mediaeval religious properties in Serbia. Historical sources do not tell us when it came to be, but they do mention it as an episcopal see as early as the 10thcentury. The likelihood that Peter’s Church has functioned as a Christian place of worship for more than ten centuries is affirmed by the numerous alterations carried out on the structure and frescoes. Three layers of preserved painting fragments are dated according to their stylistic characteristics to the 9th-10th centuries, the late 12th and the last decade of the 13th century. The continued respect for this ancient cult site in the last two centuries is evidenced by the necropolis with its large number of imposing tomb memorials. In 1979 the church was entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Stari Ras and Sopoćani complex.
Djurdjevi Stupovi monastery was erected in ca. 1170 as an endowment of Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja, dedicated to St. George. It was named after the church dedicated to St George and its two former bell towers, two high towers – pillars. Namely, according to Stefan the First-Crowned, Nemanja had built this church to commemorate his gratitude to St. George for saving him from dungeons-caves where he was put by his brothers. Monastery is a building with a set of architectural and construction innovation in that period, among which there are two remarkable towers, lateral vestibules, cupola with elliptic basis, irregular shape of altar area, as well as specific arrangement of the central dome space of the church. The entry tower, after the additional construction of apses in the east side in 1282-83, had been turned into chapel that king Dragutin designed for his tomb. The inside of the chapel is covered by frescos with historical content and portraits of the Nemanjic dynasty. As a part of the entity Stari Ras with Sopocani, Djurdjevi Stupovi Monastery has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979.
The monastery of Sopocani is located at the very source of the river Raska. It was built in 1260 by King Uros I Nemanjic as a church which would serve as his burial place, and was extended and renovated in the mid-14th century by his great-grandson Dušan. The paintings in the church are among the most impressive examples of Byzantine fresco painting. The most valuable fresco is a composition of the Ascension of the Mother of God on the western wall of the church which resounds in a symphony of yellow, blue, green and violet. The monastery was entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 as part of the Stari Ras complex.
Breakfast in hotel. Departure towards Montenegro. A trip along the canyon of the river Moraca, the second largest in Europe and third in the world. In the picturesque valley, we will visit the Moraca monastery 1252 ac. Next to the monastery rushes down the waterfall Svetigora. Stopping by to see the hand of St.Haralampije Magnezijski (III cent.). Stop for lunch at the ethno-restaurant at the waterfall Montenegrin Niagara (seasonal). We will stop to taste brandy and liqueur in a wine cellar in the picturesque mountain area. Arrival in Podgorica – the capital of Montenegro. Dinner in a hotel and overnight.
Departure after breakfast. Visit the Dormition Monastery Dajbabe.
Dormition Monastery Dajbabe (XIX c.) where the relics of St.Simeon Dajbabski are situated (a graduate of the Kiev Theological Academy). Monastery is also called the underground home of the Queen of Heaven.
Visiting Zdrebaonik monastery.
In Zdrebaonik monastery there are relics of St. Arsenije Sremski, the second archbishop of Serbia, the disciple and successor of St.Sava. Things also stored in the monastery are: the head of St.Fevrona, the relics of St.Nicholas, Mary Magdalena, Mary of Egypt, Matrona of Moscow, St. Seraphim of Sarov and others.
Driving to Ostrog monastery (XVII century.) one of the most sacred in the Balkans, where the relics of St.Vasilije of Ostrog are kept. Return to Podgorica, dinner in hotel and overnight.
Departure after breakfast. Driving to the patron capital city of Cetinje. Introduction to Cetinje monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. You can also visit the Folk Museum, where is Filermskaya icon of the Virgin Mary, painted by Apostle Luke.
Ostrog monastery has been and remains the spiritual pillar of Montenegro and its upbuilding start. We will see the right hand of John the Baptist, part of the Tree of the Cross, the relics of St. Peter of Cetinje. For those who wish we can arrange a visit to the sacristy of the monastery which contains a priceless collection: the first book printed in Cyrillic, gifts of Romanov rulers, precious icons, utensils, etc.
Free time to explore the city. After that we are moving to the mountain village, where we present the opportunity to taste and buy local delicacies: honey, brandy, cheese and “prsuta“ (air-cured and smoked meat) .Visiting Lovcen National Park. Here, at an altitude of 1660 m is the tomb of Metropolitan Petar II Petrovic (1851), the last Metropolitan, who ruled Montenegro as a sovereign and the ruler. The observation deck offers a spectacular view of the entire Montenegro. Return on the scenic road with views of the Boka Kotorska Bay. Overnight in hotel in Budva, where we`ll also have dinner.
We are starting this day with the visit of Liturgy at St.Trinity Church in Old City of Budva, beginning at 9:00am. After the liturgy we are meeting with the guide. Walking tour, exploring the ancient city of the Adriatic coast – Budva. It’s more than 2500 years old. According to the legend, apostles were passing by here during their preaching journey. Walk through the streets and squares of the Old Castle, discovering the history of the past times of the most romantic city of the coast. Free time. Optional excursion: coastal monasteries Budvanska Riviera and Praskvica (XI – XVIII c.). Visiting the church of St.Nicholas, as well as its amazing museum- sacristy, Rezevici monastery (XIII c.) and the endowment of Serbian King St.Stefan the First-Crowned, which was built for the eternal remembrance of his soul. Monasteries Rezevici and Praskvica are producing wine, brandy and olive oil that are well known throughout the coast. Monastery Gradiste (XIII – XVIII) is famous for its frescoes and the icon of St.Christopher with a donkey’s head. This is the place of the first Serbian primer and the pocket prayer book. Return to Budva, dinner and overnight.
Sightseeing tour along the largest and the only in southern Europe, the Gulf – Fjord, famous for its extraordinary beauty. Continuing to the city of Perast. Here are stored the thorn from the crown of the Savior and the particle of robe of the Virgin Mary. Boat visit to the island “Lady of the rock”. Visiting temples of Kotor – St.Trifun Temple, where the relics of St.Trifun, a particle of the Holy Cross and the particles of relics of Mary Magdalene, Thomas Polycarp of Smyrna, Cosmas and Damians are kept. Visiting also Church of St.Nicholas (XX century), and Church of St.Apostle Luke (XII century), where the relics of St.Apostle Luke, Auxentius, Mardary, Eustache, Eugene and Orestes can be found. Return to Budva, dinner and overnight.
Free day for leisure and individual activities.
Optional excursion will be offered: Skadar Lake. Departure at 9:00am. Trip by boat to the island where monasteries of the National Park Skadar Lake are located. Skadar Lake is the largest in the Balkans. This is one of the largest bird sanctuaries in Europe, so it is often called the “Paradise for Birds”. Almost on each of the many islands in the lake medieval monasteries were built. We will visit the ancient island monasteries Vranino and Kom, where we meet with their shrines and talk with the superiors of the monasteries. A boat trip will allow you to fully enjoy the beauty and to try homemade wine, cheese and donuts. It is also an opportunity to swim in the clear water of the lake if season permits. Return to Budva, dinner in hotel and overnight.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Tivat or Podgorica and departure.