Monastery Ravanica

Ravanica (Serbian Cyrillic: Раваница) is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Kučaj mountains near Ćuprija in Central Serbia. It was built in 1375–1377 as an endowment of prince Lazar of Serbia, who is buried there. The Ravanica church is called the birthplace of the new artistic movement “Morava school” because of architectural and artistic features. It is original blend of the Mount Athos and the cross-in-square five-domed model that became standard in the time of King Milutin.

Ravanica was declared Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia. Built between 1375 and 1377, Ravanica is the famous Prince Lazar’s foundation, where he was buried after his death in the Kosovo battle. Since then, Ravanica has been a pilgrim’s destination and an important center of cultural activities and the Serbian people’s assemblies.

 

The monastery has been assaulted and damaged by the Turks several times, in 1386, 1398 and 1436. In the great war after the second siege of Vienna a number of monks were killed and the rest of them, in 1690, took the relics of the sainted Prince Lazar withdrawing, in front of the Turkish offensive. Only in 1717 the only survived among the monks, Teacher Stefan came back in Ravanica and found the monastery looted and deserted. With the help of the local inhabitants he restored the monastery and built a new narthex.
The monastery suffered repeated assaults during the Serbian revolution, at the beginnings of the 19th century. The new restoration took place in the mid-19th century. During the World War II, Germans violated and damaged the monastery once more, and detained, tortured and killed its archimandrite Makarije on 24 February 1943.
The monastery church is dedicated to the Ascension of Jesus and was fortified with a strong defensive wall with seven towers, of which only a part is preserved. The Ravanica church is the first monument of the Morava school of the Serbian medieval art. Its ground plan has the form of an enlarged trefoil with a nine-sided dome in the middle and smaller octagonal domes above the corner bays. There are 62 window lights.

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