Private Day Trips from Belgrade to the South of Serbia and monasteries

 

   Private day trips to Serbian monasteries are guided in English or Spanish by your Serbian Heritage Interpreter and the official Tour Guide specialised in Serbian Orthodox monasteries. 

   To understand the meaning and messages of frescoes in monasteries, it is advisable that a specialist well-versed in Christian Orthodoxy, religious cosmology, Byzantine iconography and the history of the Middle Ages interprets them. Otherwise, you may travel hundreds of kilometres to see beautiful paintings, but you will not be able to understand their complex meaning, the messages the kings and clergy tried to convey to the faithful, nor why frescoes were painted at all. Moreover, you will not benefit from a well-informed history of the buildings that house the frescoes, their architectural significance, nor the fascinating history of the eras when they were built.

    All our private day trips to the South of Serbia are organised from Monday to Sunday and start at 8 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. at your hotel or your address in Belgrade. Our professional chauffeur will safely drive us in a superior class car or minibus.

Travelling through Serbia and not visiting medieval Orthodox monasteries is missing an essential part of Serbian culture and heritage.

No. 11 – Private Day Trip to Studenica and Zica Monasteries

   Although this tour requires long hours of driving through the countryside, pristine natural and idyllic landscapes will make our trip unforgettable. The serenity and beauty of monasteries with their impressive architecture and valuable frescoes are well worth the journey. You will see the exceptional Byzantine frescoes and gain an accurate and profound understanding of their role in the liturgy.

   ZICA Monastery, built at the entrance to the Ibar Gorge, on a vital medieval route, still holds the position of one of the most important monasteries in Serbia. It was founded in the 13th century as the first seat of the Serbian Archbishopric it still preserves magnificent fresco paintings from the 13th and 14th century.

   In STUDENICA Monastery, situated in GOLIJA BIOSPHERE NATURAL RESERVE, walls encircle the entire complex of three churches, the refectory, treasury and monastic cells. The Church of the Virgin and the Church of the King, both carry priceless collections of 13th - 16th-century Byzantine paintings. The Church of the Virgin harmoniously reconciles two architectural styles, the Romanesque and the Byzantine. The frescoes of the nave and the sanctuary in the katholikon are among the first examples of the Monumental style that emerged in different regions of the Eastern Roman Empire, after the capturing of Constantinople by the Crusaders. At the beginning of 14th-century Byzantine master painter Michael Astrapa with his disciples painted the interiors of the Church of the King. The cycle of the Life of the Virgin Mary that he painted is among the leading works of Byzantine art. These paintings, which are characterised by a new concept of space and a new expressiveness, are an essential milestone in the history not only of Byzantine art but also of Western art. In 1986, Studenica Monastery was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

No. 12 – Private Day Trip to Manasija and Kalenic Monasteries and Smederevo Fortress

   After the collapse of the once mighty Serbian Empire, one principality with sophisticated and cultured society continued to exist under the constant threat of the impending Ottoman invasion. Moravian Serbia, ruled by wealthy and educated princes and nobility became a safe place for refined artists and intellectuals fleeing from the Eastern Roman Empire, also referred to as the Byzantine Empire.

   We will first visit KALENIC Monastery, set in a picturesque area of mountains and villages. The entire exterior of the catholicon is adorned with minutely carved stone decorations. The exuberance of the ornaments is striking; it flourishes on window and portal frames; the richly moulded arcades and intricately perforated stone rosettes of the circular windows. Inside the church, the frescoes depict the intense inward feelings of the saints painted on the walls.

   Afterwards, we will continue to MANASIJA Monastery, one of the last monuments of Serbian medieval culture, founded by Prince Stefan in the 15th century. Inside the monastery grounds, the Church of the Holy Trinity, with its original mosaic floor and exquisite architecture, is surrounded by impressive crenellated walls with 11 towers and a trench. The refectory once housed the scriptorium where monks copied numerous books for church use, and it was here that the so-called Resava orthography was created and influenced later scribes for a long time to come. Stunning fresco paintings on the church walls depict warrior-saints in the choir transept, the prophets in the dome and the idealised image of the Despot Stefan presenting a model of the church to the Holy Trinity.

   At sunset, we will visit SMEDEREVO Fortified Town, the largest medieval lowland type fortress in Europe. The fort spreads across 27 acres of land and is divided into two parts: Small Town or Court and Outer Town. It is encircled by a mile-long crenellated walls over 6 ft thick with 25 towers, each of which is 82 ft tall. For centuries Smederevo held an important post as a religious and commercial centre that connected the Balkans and Central Europe. Both Manasija Monastery and Smederevo Fortress have been included in UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites.

No. 13 – Private Day Trip to the Forest Land Villages and its Secret Gems

   If you are interested in genuine, less-known attractions in Serbia and want to spend a day travelling through the Serbian countryside, this might be the perfect tour for you. Visiting these hidden gems will offer you a perspective of Serbia far different from the one you will get when you visit well-known attractions. In the interior of the Forest Land, there are numerous old villages, cemeteries and hidden churches and monasteries waiting to greet you.

   We will travel through the hilly countryside, far off the main roads and visit a local farmer in a delightful old village located on the top of the hill with 360-degree splendid views of the rolling hills and valleys. Later we will be hosted by an Orthodox priest in one of the oldest villages in Central Serbia that was once a mighty medieval stronghold. We will step into a small medieval church covered with its original frescoes.

   Then we will continue to a quaint monastery hidden deep in the woods and have a cup of tea or coffee, a glass of plum brandy, organic honey and seasonal fruits with a solitary Mother Superior. The monastery was founded in the 11th century but thoroughly rebuilt after the Ottomans and a fire destroyed the church. The fresco paintings in this church were painted recently and present an excellent opportunity to see how old churches with a traditional Byzantine layout and themes are redecorated with contemporary colours. We will have a simple and tasty lunch in a family run restaurant, and you will get the chance to talk to locals and hear from them what life is like in rural Serbia now.

For all inquiries please contact: 

serbian.heritage.tours@gmail.com

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