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Monastery of Decani
 

 

 

One of the jewels of the Serbian medieval civilization, the monastery Visoki Decani (High Decani) is located at the foot of the Prokletije Mountains, in the valley of the river Bistrica. The construction of the church, dedicated to Christ the Pantocrator started in 1327. as the foundation of King Stefan Uros III Nemanjic. In 1330. King Stefan issued his famous founding charter, signed in gold, giving to the monastery rich properties. After Stefan's death the construction was continued by his son Dusan, who completed the monastery in 1335. Painting started soon after finishing the building and lasted until 1350.

The Decani church is one of the largest Serbian medieval edifices. Its leght exceeds 36 meters, the width is 24, and the dome reaches the height of 29 m. The church was built on marble slabs in three colors. Its sophisticated architecture harmoniously blends the western, Romanesque and Gothic movements with the eastern, Byzantine style, keeping the tradition of the Serbian arts.

Visoki Decani Monastery is a major Serbian Orthodox monastery, situated in Kosovo & Metohija, 12 km south from the town of Pec. Its cathedral is the biggest medieval church in the Balkans which contains the largest preserved monument of Byzantine fresco-painting.
The monastery was established in a chestnut grove by king Stefan Decanski in 1327. Its original founding charter is dated to 1330, however. Next year the king died and was buried at the monastery, which henceforth became his popular shrine. The construction activities were continued by his son Stefan Dusan until 1335, but the wall-painting was not completed until 1350.

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. Its celebrated frescoes comprise some 1000 portraits and cover all major themes of the New Testament. The cathedral contains original 14th-century wooden iconostasis.

In 2004, UNESCO listed the monastery on the World Heritage List, citing its frescoes as "one of the most valued examples of the so-called Palaeologan renaissance in Byzantine painting" and "a valuable record of the life in the 14th century".

 

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