Dečani Monastery (2004) and
Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (2006)
Serbia

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The Dečani Monastery - at the foot of the slopes of the Prokletije mountains, in the western part of the province of Kosovo and Metohija - was built in the mid 14th century for the Serbian King Stefan Decanski. It is also his mausoleum. The monastery represents the last important phase of Byzantine-Romanesque architecture in the region and is the largest of all medieval Balkan churches. It contains exceptional, well-preserved Byzantine paintings, which cover practically the entire interior of the church with over 1,000 compositions and individual depictions of saints. It also has numerous Romanesque-Gothic sculptures. The original marble floor is preserved, as is the interior furniture, and the main 14th century iconostasis. The Dečani treasury is the richest in Serbia, with, notably, about 60 exceptional icons from the 14th to the 17th centuries. The Monastery represents an exceptional synthesis of Byzantine and Western traditions. 

In 2006, the whole property was inscribed on the World Heritage List in Danger. 

Yugoslavia 1979. Entry to the Church of Ascension, Decani Monastery. Yugoslavia 1996. Decani Monastery, 14th century. Yugoslavia 1999. Visoki Decani Monastery.

Serbia Montenegro 2005. Fresco from Decani Monastery.

Visoki Dečani is a major Serbian Orthodox monastery, situated in Metohija, 12 km south of the town of Pec. 

The monastery was established in a chestnut grove by king Stefan Decanski in 1327, but its original founding charter is dated to 1330. 

The cathedral, dedicated to Christ Pantocrator, and built from blocks of red-purple, light-yellow and onyx marble, was constructed by master-builders under the Franciscan monk Vitus of Kotor. It is distinguished from other contemporary Serbian churches by its imposing dimensions and obvious Romanesque features. 

  • Serbia Montenegro 2005. Fresco from Decani Monastery. Scan by courtesy of Mr. Miomir Zivkovic (Serbia). 

In 2006, this property was renamed, and extended to include the 

Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (2006)

The four edifices of the site reflect the high points of the Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture that developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries with its distinct style of wall painting. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches, on the outskirts of Peć featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles are painted in a unique, monumental style. 

Early 14th-century frescoes in the church of the Holy Virgin represent the appearance of the new so called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art. 
  • Serbia Montenegro 2005. Gracanica Monastery, Kosovo. Painting by Milan Milovanovic, created 1910. 
  • Yugoslavia 1999. Gracanica Monastery. Painting by Milutun Dedic. 

Serbia Montenegro 2005. Gracanica Monastery, Kosovo. Painting by Milan Milovanovic, created 1910.

Yugoslavia 1999. Gracanica Monastery. Painting by Milutun Dedic.

B&H Serbia Rep. 1975. (left). B&H means Bosnia-Herzegovina. Easter stamp. Icon of Christ in the Monastery Church of Bogorodica Ljeviska.  Yugoslavia 1994. Definitive stamp, showing Gracanica Monastery.                    Yugoslavia 1994. Definitive stamp (overprint), showing Gracanica Monastery.
  • Yugoslavia 1999. Gracanica Monastery, painted by Milutin Dedic. From a series of Monasteries in Serbia. 

  • B&H Serbia Rep. 1975. (left). B&H means Bosnia-Herzegovina. Easter stamp. Icon of Christ in the Monastery Church of Bogorodica Ljeviska. 

Yugoslavia 1990. Patriarchate of Pec Monastery. Painting by Dimitrije Cudov (*1931).
  • Yugoslavia 1990. Patriarchate of Pec Monastery. Painting by Dimitrije Cudov (*1931). 

  • Yugoslavia 2002. Patriarchate of Pec Monastery. 

Yugoslavia 2002. Patriarchate of Pec Monastery.
Yugoslavia 2001. Patriarchate of Pec Monastery. Fresco. Birth of Christ. Patriarchate of Pec Monastery. Photograph of the fresco "Birth of Christ".
Yugoslavia 1975. Gracanica Monastery, Kosovo. 14th century. Yugoslavia 1992. Patriarchate of Pec Monastery. Mother-of-God. Fresco. Yugoslavia 2000. Partriarchate of Pec Monastery. Fresco. Yugoslavia 1993. Icon from Bogorodica Ljeviska Church. Holy Virgin with child.

The four churches of the Patriarchate of Pec Monastery included in the property are: Church of the Holy Apostles, Church of the Mother of God, Church of St. Demetrius, and Church of St. Nikola. 

Sources and links: 

Many thanks to Mr. Miomir Zivkovic (Serbia) for all help, support and encouragement. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Serbia (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Serbia section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 24 jul 2007  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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