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Monastery of Studenica
 

 

The monastery Studenica, dedicated to the Presentation of the Holy Virgin, is the mother-church of all Serbian temples. It was constructed over a quite long period. The first stage works were completed by the spring of 1196, when Stefan Nemanja abandoned his throne and settled in the monastery's foundation. When he later left for Hilandar, his son and successor Stefan took over the care of Studenica. Nemanja died in Hilandar in 1299. Nemanja's third son Sava, after reconciling his brothers Stefan and Vukan, moved Stefan's relics to Studenica. Under guardianship of Sava, Studenica became the political, cultural and spiritual center of medieval Serbia. Among his other endeavors, Sava composed a Typik, the rule-book where he described St. Simon's life, leaving evidence of the spiritual and monastic life of his time.

Studenica enjoyed continual care by the members of the Nemanjic dynasty. King Radoslav added to the church a splendid narthex in 1235. King Milutin built a small but lovely church dedicated to saints Joachim and Anna.
Since the fall of the last of the medieval Serbian states in 1459, the Turks often assaulted the monastery. The first of the significant restorations of the damage took place in 1569, when the frescoes in the Church of the Presentation were repainted. In the early seventeenth century, an earthquake and a fire befell the monastery, and historical documents and a significant part of the artistic heritage were destroyed and lost forever.
The Virgin's Church is a domed single-nave basilica. At its eastern end there is a three-sided apse, while an extended narthex faces west; there are also vestibules on the north and the south. In the 1230s, a large exonarthex was added. The facades were built with slabs of white marble; inside, the church is revetted with tufa blocks. Externally, the Church harmoniously reconciles two architectural styles, the Romanesque and the Byzantine. The blending of these two styles eventually produced a particular style of architecture known as the Raska School.

Simultaneously with the construction of the church, it would have been necessary to raise walls and towers for the protection of the monastic community. All this must have been completed in the main by the spring of 1196, when Nemanja himself came to live as a monk in his foundation.

 

 

 

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