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24. RECANE, CHURCH OF ST. GEORGE - In the village of Recane, east of Suva Reka, there is a small church dedicated to St. George, the endowment of an unknown Serbian duke who was buried there on 23 December 1370. The tomb with the carved, partially damaged, inscription points to the period of the construction and painting of temple as the seventh decade of the 14th century. The building has unusually harmonious proportions and the foundation in the shape of the cross-in-square with the dome on pilasters. It was built with stone; only the dome is built with alternate layers of limestone and brick. Modest ceramoplastic decoration is represented primarily on the southern facade. The interesting iconographic contents of the Recane paintings includes, besides the usual subjects, the cycle dedicated to the patron of the temple numbering about ten compositions based on the Slav interpretation of the legend about St. George. The stylistic characteristics of these paintings, severely damaged by fire and the temple's partial falling in mid-19th century, point to local painters, members of a local workshop, most probably from Prizren. Inspired by the achievements from the first half of the 14th century, they show some archaic characteristics but, at the same time, certain features characteristic for the contemporary trends and for the art of that time. The first protection works were carried out already in 1926, while the complete conservation works on the architecture and paintings were carried out in the 1956-1960 period.

25. KORISA, MONASTERY AND HERMITAGE OF ST. PETER KORISKI - The impressive ruins of the monastery and hermitage in which ascetic Peter Koriski was buried most probably at the beginning of the 13th century are located east of Prizren, near the village of Korisa. The oldest part is the partially carved natural recess in the rock with the remains of frescoes from around 1220. They are characterized by light colours completed by sure drawing as well as by characteristic iconography which reveals the cemetery character of the shrine. At the end of the 13th century or at the beginning of the 14th century, a church was built on the narrow plateau in front of the cave whose southern wall was leaning on the arcades and massive columns which are still, even today, the most impressive part of the complex. Nothing is left of the temple itself; its northern wall was a rock on which fragments of paintings are discernible, painted simultaneously with the second layer of frescoes in hermitage. Severely damaged paintings dating back to around 1350 do not allow a clearer image of their stylistic characteristics. The narrowness of space resulted in placing the refectory, monks' cells and other economic premises in a multi-storey building erected between the rocks north-west of the church. When the Prizren region was occupied by Turks, this monastic community was deserted and the relics of its founder were moved to the Crna Reka Monastery in 1572. Archeological excavations and architectural conservation works were carried out in 1961.

26. NERODIMLJE, COMPLEX OF MONUMENTS - The toponymy dates back to the middle age and is connected with two villages of different age primarily known by a great number of church monuments. The oldest protected architectural remains in this area belong to a Byzantine palace from the time before of the Serbian conquest of this territory. An older settlement, Gornje (Upper) Nerodimlje, at the foot of Nerodimska Mount 6 km west of Urosevac, was mentioned for the first time in the Gracanica Charter of King Milutin (1311/1316) under the name of Rodimlja. It was also named as Porodimlja, the place where the Decani hrisovulja was written in 1330 in the palace of Stephen Decanski, as well as Nerodimlja where Emperor Dusan and his son Uros had their palaces. This place gained great historical importance since Serbian rulers from the Nemanjic dynasty lived in the palaces they built there, beginning with King Milutin who died in Nerodimlje. There are several churches in the village: monastery of Holy Archangels, church of the Assumption or monastery of St. Uros where, according to the folk tradition, King Uros died. Above the settlement, there are the ruins of the Veliki (Big) and Mali (Little) Petric fortifications. Donje (Lower) Nerodimlje is not far away from Gornje (Upper) Nerodimlje. It is younger that the latter judging by the first preserved mention in the Turkish census of 1455. In the village, there are also the foundations of the church of St. Stephen, ruins of the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary completely renewed in 1925 and the remains of the church of St. Nicholas Letnji on which a new building was built in 1938.

27. NERODIMLJE, REMAINS OF A BYZANTINE PALACE - A Byzantine basilica is located on the cemetery between Gornje and Donje Nerodimlje, about 10 m north of the church of St. Nicholas. Until archeological excavations in 1988, it was thought that the remains of the palace of King Milutin lay there so that the monument is protected under that name. The excavations uncovered parts of a monumental edifice from the 6th century whose floor is decorated with mosaic and walls with paintings. In the centre of the biggest room there is a round pool in the axis of entrance and staircase leading to the corridor. Mosaic covered the entire floor, outside and inner surface of the pool and the entire staircase. Birds and floral motives are illustrated along the edge of the floor, while the greatest part of the surface has geometrical ornaments. On the western part of the floor there is an arcade with figures of seven Greek wise men whose names and thoughts by which they were known were written in Latin. The mosaic was made with multi-coloured cubes of marble and marl and the faces of wise men with glass paste. The edifice was built in the late classical period while the mosaic floor was made in the time of Iustinian. Due to its representative appearance it was also used in subsequent epochs, so that the possibility that it was a palace of Serbian rulers in the 14th century cannot be ruled out. Some walls were built in the 17th century and the site was last used in the 19th century as a cemetery. The mosaic floor was moved to the Museum of Kosovo in Pristina where preservation works were carried out.

28. VELIKI AND MALI PETRIC FORTIFICATIONS - The remains of medieval towns of Veliki Petric and Mali Petric (Petric, Petrc, Velika and Mala Kaleja) are located near the village of Gornja Nerodimlja, west of Urosevac. Both towns were built on the tops of hardly accessible hills above the mouth of the Golema (Big) and Mala (Little) Rivers. The purpose of the fortifications was to protect the roads and the palace of Serbian rulers at Nerodimlje. Petric is mentioned in the biography of King Stephen Decanski in connection with his conflict with his son, King Stephen Dusan, which took place in 1331. It is not known in which of the two towns the old king was captured. The basis of Veliki Petric is oval; it has two towers on the western and southern ramparts and one big round tower within the fortification. Some ramparts are preserved even up to 4 m of height. Mali Petric is completely in ruins. Not many remains of the southern rampart and traces of a possible gate can be seen in the dense vegetation. Veliki and Mali Petric have not been explored and no preservation works have been carried out.

29. NERODIMLJE, CHURCH OF THE HOLY ARCHANGELS - The monastery church of Holy Archangels from the 14th century was renewed in 1700. This is an one-nave building with narthex which was painted and repainted. On the western facade, there are two large rectangular windows. Under the younger layer of frescoes from the beginning of the 18th century and the painted surfaces there are still uncovered paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries. There are several icons from the 17th and 18th centuries in the church. There used to be a black pine tree above the church which, according to the folk tradition, had been planted by Emperor Dusan and which lasted until 1975.

30. NERODIMLJE, CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION (MONASTERY OF ST. UROS - The church is located on the slopes of the Neredice hill, west of the village of Gornja Nerodimlja, near the village of Sajkovac (formerly Sarenik). Most probably, the church was built at the end of the 14th century and, according to the folk tradition, it was built by Empress Jelena, mother of Emperor Uros, above her son's grave after his death in 1371. The monastic life died in 1584 and Patriarch Pajsije mentioned in the hagiography of Emperor Uros the making of a new kivot (sarcophagus for saints' relics) and the renewal of his church. In the 17th century it was mentioned as the church of St. Uros. To protect the relics from the Turks, a monk named Hristifor moved them in 1705 to the monastery of Jazak on Fruska Gora where they lay until 1945 when they were moved to the Cathedral Church in Belgrade. The church was destroyed in the first half of the 19th century and Gilferding described it as a ruin in 1858. The renewal of the church began at the end of the 19th century but, because of the Turkish and Albanian obstruction, it was renewed up to the vaults.

 

RECOGNIZED CULTURAL MONUMENTS

 


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III

DISTRICT OF PRISTINA

 

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:

 

DESCRIPTION

The region of Kosovo between the upper stretches of the Sitnica, Binacka Morava and Kriva Reka rivers, was an active province of the Roman Empire which got its episcopal seat (Ulpiana) in the 4th century. Numerous archaeological localities show that this area was densely populated during Antiquity while at the time of the expansion of the Serbian state in the 14th century, it became the venue of important historic events which were to shape the destiny of not only the Serbian people but of the entire Balkan peninsula as well. It was here that one of the most beautiful examples of late Byzantine architecture was created, namely the magnificent church of the Gracanica monastery with its murals constituting the last works of the master fresco painters of the Renaissance during the rule of the Palaeologus dynasty, Michael and Evtichius. At the same time, many noblemen erected votive churches in the territory of Kosovo (Kmetovce, Vaganes, Ajnovce, Lipljan) and the largest mining centre in Serbia of that time and a mint (Novo Brdo) were established. They attest to the cultural and economic power of the Serbian medieval state during the century which was to see its highest ascent but also its greatest defeat at the hands of the Turks in 1389 (Gazimestan). After the last barrier was dismantled, the Ottoman Empire came to threaten even Vienna, while artistic pursuit in the region of Kosovo, which had for over a thousand years been a lively juncture of trade routes and cultures practically died down until a century ago when the urban centre of Pristina started developing and new centres started cropping up. However, their artistic reaches fell short of the medieval masters who erected upon the foundations of earlier cultures the most impressive monuments of medieval architecture and fresco painting.

 

COMPARISON WITH OTHER SIMILAR PROPERTIES:

The region of Kosovo is a juncture at which intersect and cross-fertilise the main artistic and historic paths in the Serbian medieval state. It mirrors the major aspects of the material and spiritual life blossoming in the Orthodox East prior to its decline and fall under Ottoman rule. Based on traditions of Antiquity which embedded its roots deep in the soil of Kosovo, it is here that one of the most representative examples of late Byzantine art was created, the Church of Gracanica Monastery (on the preliminary World Heritage List).

1. ULPIANA - The remains of the Roman and early Byzantine Ulpiana occupy the area of 35 ha and are located on the Gradina site near the present-day Gracanica. The cultural layer of 4 m was discovered on this multi-layer site. The ramparts of the Roman town had irregular quadrangle foundation. Necropoles were located on the north and west of the town, while the fortress with square foundation was on the northern-eastern side. The birth of the town is connected with Trajan's rule (98-118). The original small mining settlement became a town with the status of Roman municipality. Ulpiana became the bishopric centre early ; the synod at Serdica in 343 was also attended by its Bishop Makedonijus. After the renewal of the town undertaken by Iustinian in mid-6th century the town was called Iustiniana Secunda. The town was completely destroyed in the attacks by the Avars and Slavs at the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century. The sondage archeological excavations begun in 1953 (followed by conservation works) discovered the following parts of the classical Ulpiana: one-nave basilica with a crypt in the northern-western part of the settlement; the remains of two spas; parts of the mosaic floor of a building; part of stylobate of a classical temple; town gate with towers and the beginning of the main street (cardo). In the northern necropolis, built tombs, memory with a big marble sarcophagus and the remains of mosaic floor with donor's inscription were discovered.

2. GRACANICA MONASTERY - The church of the Assumption in the Gracanica Monastery, the endowment of King Milutin, was built in the second decade of the 14th century. It has the shape of five-dome building with the foundation in the shape of the developed cross-in-square and, thus, belongs to the group of the first-class architectural achievements of the epoch. The outside narthex was built in mid-16th century. Mihailo and Evtihije, famous painters from Salonica, completed the paintings by 1321. Divine Liturgy, prophets and evangelists are painted in the central dome below the painting of Christ Pantoctrator. The cycles of Great Feasts, Passion of Christ, Miracles, Parable, Christ's Comings after Ressurection, scenes from Virgin's life, St. Nicholas and Menologion are painted in naos. Eucharist and Old Testament subjects are represented on the altar. Milutin and his wife Simonida, Byzantine princess, are painted as rulers by the God's will since the angels bring them crowns from the heaven. The Nemanjics' genealogical tree and the Last Judgment are painted in narthex, while the fragments of frescoes painted in the 14th century and around 1570 are preserved in the outside narthex. In addition to the compositions of the cycles of Ecumenical Synods, Akathistos Hymn and Baptism, there are also the portraits of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs and the painting of the funeral of the Gracanica Metropolit Dionisije. The Gracanica treasury was destroyed in the fires between 1379 and 1383. Today, the monastery keeps a significant collection of icons, the oldest one being the icon of Christ the Merciful from the 14th century, unique by its dimensions (269 cm x 139 cm). Continuous conservation works on the architecture and paintings are carried out.

3. KMETOVCE MONASTERY - In the vicinity of Gnjilane, 1 km south-east of the village of Kmetovce, there are the remains of the church of the old monastery of St. Demetrios, today more known as dedicated to St. Barbara. Written sources do not mention this cult place, while the folk (oral) tradition links the birth of the monastery with the time of Emperor Dusan. The preserved remains of church indicate the transitional type of building between the developed and shortened cross-in-square which points to the similarity with the shrine of St. Nicholas in the Holy Archangels' Monastery near Prizren. One-nave vaulted building with the dome over the central bay was leaning on the wall between narthex and naos on the western side, while on the eastern side it was supported by two columns. As to the altar space, the apse, three-sided from outside, and the niche which marked prothesis are preserved. The church was built with stone with the modest use of brick. The remains of fresco decorations - fragments of ornaments and the busts of saints on red background - are visible in the northern-eastern corner of the shrine. Stylistic characteristics, both artistic and architectural, lead to the conclusion that it was the endowment of a landlord, most probably from the sixth decade of the 14th century. The church was partially ruined after the Kosovo Battle and completely demolished in the 18th century. Conservation works were carried out between 1966 and 1968.

4. VAGANES, CHURCH OF THE HOLY VIRGIN - The church is located 15 km east of Novo Brdo. It was built and painted in 1354/1355 and its founder was Serbian landowner Dabiziv with his brothers and parents. Even three inscriptions are preserved (two carved in stone and one in fresco technique) which provide basic information about this endowment of modest dimensions. Naos is one-nave, vaulted, with semi-circular altar apse and niches marking prothesis and diakonikon. A high narthex was built next to the western wall for which it is supposed that ended as a tower or a belfry. The church was in ruins for a long time, so that the paintings are severely damaged. In naos, only the fragments of the Liturgy of Archpriests, several standing figures and the composition from the cycle of Passion of Christ are preserved. Standing figures are recognizable on the southern wall of narthex, busts of martyrs are painted in the medallions in the second zone and above them there is the scene of St. George saving the Emperor's daughter and most probably the portraits of founders. The compositions from the cycle of Virgin's life are presented in the highest zone of wall paintings. Certain interventions were carried out on frescoes in the 16th century, while the Virgin's temple in Vaganes was almost completely razed to the ground in mid-19th century. Conservation works, carried out in 1963, restored its original appearance only partially.

5. LIPLJAN, CHURCH OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE VIRGIN - The church of The Presentation of the Virgin was probably built in the second or third decade of the 14th century. It is an one-nave edifice covered with semi-oval dome, with the apse three-sided from outside and semi-circular inside. It is built in alternation of stone and brick and the facades are decorated with shallow sculpted ornaments and blind arcades. The built iconostasis was subsequently erected at the time of the renewal of church in the 16th century. Another partition dividing the interior of the church to the altar area, naos and narthex was also built then in the western part of the temple, while the ruined upper parts of the church were restored. The original paintings, partially preserved, were also damaged in a fire. The founder of paintings, an unknown landowner, is painted on the northern wall of naos. The paintings of high artistic value date back to mid-14th century. After the restoration of church in the 16th century, new frescoes were painted in the church and this process lasted, with interruptions, until 1621. The compositions with Eucharist symbols in the altar were renewed, individual saints' figures and compositions from the cycles of Great Feasts and Christ's miracles were painted in higher zones of iconostasis and naos, while the Last Judgment, individual saints and the healing of the sight of Stephen Decanski were illustrated in narthex. Conservation works on architecture and wall paintings were carried out in the 1955-1958 period.

6. UBOZAC (RDJAVAC) MONASTERY - Do the impressive remains of the triconch monastery church and the complex around it herald the birth of the Morava style and date back to mid-14th century or are they one of representative examples of architecture in the period of Turkish rule in the Balkans* The literature of a recent date is trying to solve this problem using the arguments of similar weight, but the problem has not been solved yet. On the basis of historical sources the only thing known for sure is that Patriarch Pajsije, born in the vicinity, returned, intended to give and endowed manuscript books to this monastery in mid-17th century. The remains of the monastery are surrounded by the pleasant landscape beside the village of Mocare, north-east of Kosovska Kamenica. Partially explored, the complex consists of the monumental church dedicated to The Presentation of the Virgin, refectory with cellar west of it, two several-storeyed angled towers and buildings with porches which probably served as monks' cells and which stretch to the north and south along the churchyard. The covering of walls with the neatly cut stones, decorative use of brick (like cells with the use of stone on dormitories of the monks or in the shape of fishbone on the western facade of the church) and the interwoven stone relief ornament are the characteristics of this architecture. The church itself, without narthex and with narrow west bay and regular conches, had originally the dome leaning on free columns. Partial excavation and conservation works took place in the 1963-1966 period.

7. NOVO BRDO FORTRESS - The medieval town of Novo Brdo is located on the top of Mala Planina (Small Mountain), between Prilepnica and Kriva Reka, north of Gnjilane. The fortified town and settlement date back to the beginning of the 14th century. From mid-14th century, Novo Brdo became the biggest mining place in Serbia and the most important urban centre. Silver exploited in the Novo Brdo mines had the ingredients of gold. Besides the Serbian population, people from Dubrovnik, Saxons, Greeks and Albanians also lived in the town. At the time of Emperor Stephen Dusan, there was a mint in the town and the coins with the name of the town started to be minted in 1349. The Turks conquered the town in mid-1455 and its sudden decay began. It was completely deserted at the beginning of the 17th century. The fortress is composed of the dominant Upper Town of polygonal shape with six massive rectangular towers. It was built with trimmed broken stone in almost regular layers. The rampart of the Lower Town with two towers is stretching towards west following the configuration of the terrain. The urban settlement with the main town church of St. Nicholas was within the Lower Town and on a wider space east of the fortress. 900 graves and tombs, built or carved in the rock, were discovered in the church and its yard. The remains of a church built by Saxons and the people from Dubrovnik, named Saska (Saxon) Church, were discovered south of the town. Archeological excavations and parallel conservation works in the complex of the fortified town, settlement and the church at Novo Brdo were carried out in the 1952-1959 period, in 1962 and 1969.

8. PRISTINA, GAZIMESTAN - MEMORIAL COMPLEX - The historical area of the Kosovo Battle which took place in 1389, i.e. the central place of clash between the Serbian and Turkish armies, is a unique whole consisting of the monument to the Kosovo heroes in the shape of medieval tower built in 1953 and designed by Aleksandar Deroko, Murat's turbeh and Gazimestan turbeh (Barjaktar's (flag bearer) turbeh). The area of the Gazimestan, Plandiste, Tresevina and Lazarevo memorial complex is bordering, on the north, with the Baksija area; on the north-east with the Brnjica river, on the east with the town of Donja Brnjica and the Ravniste area; on the south with the Orlovic area and town; and on the west with the Siroko Polje and Mazgit areas with the town of Gornji Mazgit. The road to Pristina on the western side is partially bordering with and partially passing through the area. The central place is the tower, 25 m high, whose interior is inscribed by the verses of the Kosovo Cycle. There is a platform on the top of the tower overlooking the area of the Kosovo Battle. On the occasion of the celebration of the sixth century from the Kosovo Battle, art applications in cast bronze symbolizing the jubilee years were made around the tower. A white monolith marble column with the text by Despot Stephen Lazarevic was erected in the vicinity of the monument.

9. PRISTINA, IMPERIAL MOSQUE - The mosque of Sultan Mehmed Fatih or the Imperial Mosque is located in the town centre. The inscription above the portal says that it was built in 865 according to the Hegira Islamic system of measuring time, i.e. in 1460/1461, eight years after the fall of Constantinople, i.e. the year when the typology elements were taken from Aya Sofia which determined the most frequent (Osmanli-Brus) type of the mosque building on our soil - one-storey edifice with a dome. By its sharp and peaceful proportions, with little decoration both outside and inside, with the dome with diameter of 13.5 m, slender minaret, porch with three refracted arches and three cupolas - it has all the values of monumental objects created in the early period of the Islamic architecture in Serbia. It is built with stone blocks. The simplicity of plastic works was fully expressed in the shaping of the portal and windows and in the decoration of mihrab, mahvil and other elements in its interior.

 

RECOGNIZED CULTURAL MONUMENTS