Studenica Monastery Fresco, Serbia. Image: Verity Stokes-Clarke

Studenica Monastery Fresco, Serbia. Image: Verity Stokes-Clarke

Studencia Monastery, a 12th-century Serbian Orthodox Monastery in central Serbia, was declared by the Republic of Serbia as  Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979. UNESCO considered it as the largest and richest of Serbia’s Orthodox monasteries and enlisted it in World Heritage Sites in 1986. It is situated 39 km southwest of Kraljevo, in central Serbia.

It was established in the late 12th century by Stevan Nemanja, founder of the medieval Serb state. This ancient site contains the Church of the Virgin, and the Church of the King, constructed with  white marble and are surrounded by fortified walls. The collection of 13th- and 14th century Byzantine-style fresco paintings are also one of the prominent parts of this monastery. St Sava Nemanjic, the founder’s youngest son also founded here the Serbian Orthodox Church, which was separate from that of Byzantium.

Orthodox Studenica Monastery of Serbia
Studenica Monastery of Serbia

Studencia has received time to time restoration and care by the rulers. King Radoslav also made a fabulous antechamber in the church in 1235. King Milutin also constructed a beautiful church dedicated to saints Joachim and Anna over here. But after  the fall of the medieval Serbian states in 1459, the Turks attacked frequently here and provided loss to this monastery. In the 17th century, an earthquake and a fire happened in the monastery, and the most part of the historic artistic heritage were destroyed and lost forever.

Church of St. Nicholas is famous for the traces of ancient magnificent frescos. The primary fresco layer in the main church was designed by St. Simeon Nemanja and St. Sava. Mother of God of Studenica fresco is the symbol of spiritual mother of the Serbian state. The fresco designs of Cyrillic in the churches were created before Constantinople gave independence to the Church of Serbia as a challenge to its jurisdiction. The fresco of the Crucifixion almost governs the whole Western wall of the main sanctuary. These all  frescoes were designed with a theme of religious purpose and also to serve with education. These basically represented the healing and salutary exercises for gaining spirituality.

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