PRIVATE DAY TRIPS FROM BELGRADE TO THE MONASTERIES AND THE SOUTH OF SERBIA
Private day trips to Serbian monasteries are a perfect choice for travelers who want to know about Serbian people, history and culture. Traveling through Serbia and not visiting medieval Orthodox monasteries is missing an essential part of Serbian heritage and culture.
Your Serbian Heritage Interpreter and a licensed Tour Guide, specialized in Serbian Orthodox monasteries will guide you in English or Spanish and explain the complex Serbian history of the Golden Age and biblical scenes painted on the walls of churches visited. Kings, nobility, and clergy passed crucial messages to the faithful with a careful choice of scenes and saints painted.
To understand the meaning and messages of frescoes in monasteries, it is essential that a specialist well-versed in Christian Orthodoxy, religious cosmology, and Byzantine iconography interprets them. You will understand hidden symbols and messages easily understood by medieval people but incomprehensible to modern people. Moreover, you will have an insight into medieval men's perception of life and how they observed the world around them.
Private day trips to Serbian monasteries in the South are organized from Monday to Sunday and start at 8 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. at your hotel or your Belgrade address.
PRIVATE DAY TRIP TO STUDENICA AND ZICA MONASTERIES
If you want to visit the most important Serbian medieval monasteries in only one day, this day trip to Studenica and Zica is the very best choice. Although it 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. In Studenica and Zica, you will see the exceptional Byzantine frescoes and learn about their role in the liturgy. Moreover, you will gain an accurate and profound understanding of Serbian history and the Serbian people.
ZICA Monastery, built at the Ibar Gorge entrance, on a vital medieval route, still holds the position of one of the most important monasteries in Serbia. In the 13th century, Saint Sava founded here the first seat of the Serbian Archbishopric. Today it is a nunnery and home of more than 40 Orthodox nuns famous for their icon-painting workshop. Katholikon – the main church dedicated to the Ascension of Our Lord still preserves magnificent fresco paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries. Among them, the fresco of the Dormition of Our Lady is a real masterpiece of medieval sacral art.
In STUDENICA Monastery, situated in Golija Biosphere Natural Reserve, stone 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 paintings.
The Church of the Virgin harmoniously reconciles two architectural styles, the Romanesque and the Byzantine. Frescoes of the nave and the sanctuary in the katholikon are among the first examples of the Monumental style that emerged in different Eastern Roman Empire regions after the Crusaders captured Constantinople.
At the beginning of the 14th century Byzantine master painter Michael Astrapa and his disciples painted the King's Church. The cycle of the Life of the Virgin Mary that he painted is among the leading works of Byzantine art. These paintings, which are characterized by a new concept of space and unique expressiveness, are an essential milestone in Byzantine art and Western art history.
In 1986, Studenica Monastery was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
PRIVATE DAY TRIP TO MANASIJA AND KALENIC MONASTERIES AND SMEDEREVO FORTRESS
After the collapse of the once-mighty Serbian Empire, one principality with a sophisticated and cultured society continued to exist under the constant threat of the impending Ottoman invasion. Moravian Serbia, ruled by Prince Stefan, one of the richest and most educated sovereigns of Europe at his time, became a safe place for refined artists and intellectuals fleeing from the Eastern Roman Empire, also referred to as the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman army is still far away, and Moravian Serbia is in the last period of relative peace and prosperity.
We will first visit KALENIC Monastery, set in a picturesque area of mountains and authentic old villages. Minutely carved stone decorations adorn the entire exterior of the church. The ornaments' exuberance is striking. It flourishes on window and portal frames, the richly molded 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. The monastery is a fine example of an endowment of the wealthy and educated nobility.
Afterward, we will continue to MANASIJA Monastery, one of the Serbian medieval culture's last monuments, founded by Prince Stefan in the 15th century. Inside the monastery grounds, the Holy Trinity Church, with its original mosaic floor and exquisite architecture, is surrounded by impressive crenelated 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 Despot Stefan's idealized image presenting a church model to the Holy Trinity. The beauty of figures, faces and stylish dresses reflect the rich and refined society of the nobles in Moravian Serbia.
At sunset, we will visit SMEDEREVO FORTRESS, the largest medieval lowland-type fortress in Europe. It overlooks the Danube River, and for centuries Smederevo was a religious and commercial center that connected the Balkans and Central Europe. Thick crenelated walls and 25 towers encircle the extensive triangular Outer Town and inside it a Small Town. From the walls of the fortress, we will have wonderful views of the Danube and the town. Both Manasija Monastery and Smederevo Fortress are on UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites.
PRIVATE DAY TRIP TO THE FOREST LAND AND ITS SECRET GEMS
If you are interested in genuine, less-known attractions in Serbia and want to spend a day traveling through the Serbian countryside, this is 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. There are numerous old villages, cemeteries, and hidden churches and monasteries waiting to greet you in the interior of the Forest Land.
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 built on the foothill of a volcanic mountain to see its frescoes painted centuries ago.
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 set a fire that destroyed the church. The fresco paintings in this church were painted recently and present an excellent example of how the old churches with a traditional Byzantine layout and themes are painted with contemporary colors.
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.