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Things To Do In Serbia Part Three
Vineyards Of Fruska Gora
Beautiful Fruska Gora
Unspoiled Nature of Fruska Gora
Fruska Gora Mountain
Fruska Gora is a low mountain, whose highest peak is Crveni Cot at 539 m. A long time ago it was an island in the Panonian Sea. It extends in length about eighty kilometers, from Sremski Karlovci to Negtin, and is 15 km. width from north to south. Fruska Gora is the oldest national park of Serbia. The higher parts of Frugka Gora are covered by a deciduous forest, while conifers are recent, brought from other regions in order to refine the area. Fruska Gora is the biggest linden discovery in Europe. Pleasant meadows and wheat fields, orchards and vineyards, famous for its top-quality wine, decorate lower parts. One characteristic flora are the orchid that can be found on this mountain. Eagles, hawks, falcons, black storks and owls build their nests on the treetops, and besides the great number of songbirds, the Paragov Nightingale is famous. Rabbits, fallow deer, roe deer, wild pigs, foxes, and marten can all be met in the park. Fruska Gora is a favorite destination for campers and picnickers. The most popular vacation area is Stazilovo, not far from Sremski Karlovci, where the grave of poet Branko Radievie is located. There are about twenty Orthodox monasteries on Frugka Gora that appeared in a period from the 15th to the 18th century, thus earning its name the Serbian Mideuropean Athos.
The Monasteries of Fruska Gora As the Turks were advancing, after the failure of the Serbian state in 1459, people started slowly to withdraw toward the North. The last of the family Brankovic founded, or even renovated, the institution of monasticism in Srem. The tradition connects the founding of an entire number of monasteries exactly with the family Brankovic, and a saintly aureole that the Brankovic from Srem had taken, Despot Stefan and Jovan, Metropolitan Maksim and his mother Angelina gave to all the monasteries at Frugka Gora the importance of highly respected place. Over time, the church's treasures were moved from Serbia to the monasteries at Fruska Gora, including the relics of Emperor Urog to Jazak, then the relics of Prince Lazar to Vrdnik, and the relics of Stevan Stiljanovic to Sisatovac. The christian cults were brought together with the relics so that monasteries of Frugka Gora become new centers of pilgrimage, or more exactly, a gathering place of the Serbian population. The vessels, charters, icons and other items from Studenica, Zica, Mileseva and other monasteries, which because of their locations were in danger of Turkish attacks, were stored in the monasteries across the Sava and the Danube, along with the relics. During the greater Vienna's war (1683-1699), many monasteries on Fruska Gora were destroyed. After the Peace in Karlovci (1699), according to which Srem belonged to Austria, the Emperor Leopold I gave to the Serbian church and people certain privilege by which the monasteries were accepted as an integral part of the Orthodox church and they were assured ownership of their property. During the 18th century, the monasteries were renovated and newly-built churches got characteristics of baroque style.
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The Fruska Gora Monasteries
Some say that monasteries are Fruska Gora's biggest attraction. The Fruska Gora Monasteries are a very unique group of monasteries built in the period from XIII to XVIII century. Thirty five monasteries were built in an amazing natural setting. Fifteen has been preserved till today. This complex has been enlisted in the UNESCO program of protection.
Monasteries Of Fruska Gora
The Monastery of Krusedol
The Monastery of Krusedol is an endowment and a mausoleum for the Brankovic from Srem. The Metropolitan of Belgrade and Srem, Maksim, in secular life Djordje Brankovic the son of the blind Despot Stefan Brankovic and Angelina of the Arianita family, established it in the period between 1509-1516. He got the land for the monastery from the Jaksic family, while Duke Jovan Njagoje of Vlach helped him with the construction. On the occasion of the Great Migration, the monks of Krusedol left the monastery in 1690 and took with them the valuable objects and escaped to Sent-Andreja (Saint-Andrew). The Monastery particularly suffered damages on the occasion of the Turkish withdrawal from South Hungary, when almost all the relics of St. Brankovic were burnt. The look of the complex today dates mostly from a restoration of the monastery in the 18th century. The church, dedicated to the Annunciation, built by Metropolitan Maksim has a trefoil basis, dome over the bay and spacious narthex at the western side, according to monuments of Serbia's Morava model. It was renovated many times. The high bell tower with lighthouse separated from the church was built in the period from 1724 to 1726, while the porch was added in the middle of the 18th century. The paintings of the narthex date to 1543, while the painting of the bay was finished three years later. The frescoes with the scene of the Last Judgment on the western facade date from 1653, and in the middle of the 18th century the works were copied in oil colors. The works at the altar and the narthex were done by Joy Vasilijevic, a painter from Ukraine, and by Stefan Tenecki in the bay, introducing Ukrainian Baroque stylistic characteristics in the wall paintings of Krusedol. In the lower zone of Krugedol's narthex, there is a painted gallery of Serb saints, including St. Brankovic. Vasilijevic also worked on the main icons of Krugedol's iconostasis. On this iconostasis there are icons of the Deisis since 1512.
The monastery played an important role in the church history of Serbia and in preserving the cultural and national identity. Beside that, Krusedol is a mausoleum of outstanding people of Serbian History. Patriarch Arsenije III Carnojevic was buried in Krusedol in 1706 and in 1710 the body of Metropolitan Isaija Dakovic was moved to Krusedol. At this place was buried count Djordje Brankovic, whose body was moved in 1743 from Heb, and then Arsenije IV as well. In the monastery there are graves of several Metropolitans, Duke Stevan Supljikac, Princess Ljubica Obrenovic and King Milan Obrenovic. The richest treasury among the monasteries of Fruska Gora is in the Monastery of Krusedol. In the Krusedol village there is the church dedicated to Presentation of Christ in the Temple, which is the endowment of Angelina Brankovic, the despot's Stefan wife. With the help of the Great Russian Prince Vasily, she founded a women's monastery in 1510, which serves as the village's church today. The church is a single nave building, without a dome and with a narthex added later. The bell tower was built at the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th century. Frescoes in the narthex were done in 1633/1634, while the frescoes from naos and altar date from the 18th century. Dimitrije Bacevic and Teodor Kracun painted the iconostasis.
The Monastery Grgeteg
The Monastery of Grgeteg
The Monastery of Grgeteg is one of numerous monasteries of Fruska Gora that is connected with the despots of Brankovic family. According to tradition, Vuk Grgurevc better known as Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk (Fiery Dragon Wolf), the son of blind Despot Grgur, founded the monastery. The first mention of the monastery is from the 17th century, and in 1691 Austrian Emperor Leopold gave the monastery to Isaija Dakovic, Bishop of Jenopolje, along with a great estate in Srem.
Dakovic had renovated the whole monastery complex. In 1739, the monks of the Monastery Slanci in Serbia found refuge in Grgeteg, bringing their possessions, clothes and books. The present church with bell tower dates from 1771 and dormitories appeared five years later. At the same time the icons and iconostasis were ordered from Jakov Orfelin, one of the greatest Serbian baroque painters. Only two main icons made by him were preserved and can be still be seen in the Museum of the Monastery of Krusedol. Uros Predic performed the new iconostasis in the period from 1901-1904. During World War II, the bell tower was blown up, at the same time damaging the iconostasis of the small dome performed the by famous artist Pjer Krizanic. On that occasion one part of the church's arch was ruined and the dormitories were destroyed too. During the 1960s, a restoration of the monastery was conducted.
The Monastery Of Novo Hapovo
After Krusedol, the Monastery of Novo Hopovo along with its church dedicated to St. Nicholas, is today one of the most significant monasteries of Fruska Gora. According to tradition the first church dates from the 15'" century and was founded by Metropolitan Maksim. The church as it is today was built in 1576 and the founding families were Jaksic and Bozanovic. Hopovo, as a cultural center of
Serbia in the 16t" century and residence of Belgrade and Srem metropolitans in the 16'" and 17'" century, played an important role in Serbian history. The monastery was ruined and the church burned down in 1688. The repairs of the 18'" century changed the church to a certain extent. The Church of Hopovo, with a trefoil basis of developing into cross type and with a dome over the bay was built of pressed stone and is considered the most monumental building among late medieval Serbian churches. The facades are revived with brick and colonnettes which carry an arched frieze at the upper zone of the church. The bell tower on the western side was added in the middle of the 18th century. The church was painted several times, altar and bay in 1608, narthex in 1654. The iconostasis, damaged in the World War II, is the work of Teodor KraL'un. Dositej Obradovic an outstanding Serbian educator, started his education in the Monastery of Staro Hopovo before departing from the monk's testament. Today there is a Memorial Museum dedicated to the life and work of Dositej Obradovic housed in the monastery.
Dating to 1589, the first information about this monastery actually shows us that the monastery was founded before this date. In 1697, Ravanica came to Vrdnik from Sent Andrea carrying the relics of Prince Lazar with them. They brought gifted charters of the Monastery of Ravanica and other valuables. Soon after that, the need arose to build a new church, because the current church was too small to receive the flow of people coming to bow to Prince Lazar's relics. After several attempts, the construction began in 1801, and the church was finished a decade later and finally the relics of Prince Lazar were moved in. A cross of stone is set in the place of the holy table of an older church, destroyed in 1853. The church at the beginning of the 19th century was built according to the model of Classicism and Bidermeier, a single nave building with shallow rectangular choirs and small polygonal dome without pedestal. A high bell tower was built on the western side. Dimitrije Avramovic performed the iconostasis in 1853. The valuables of the Monastery were either destroyed in World War II, and taken away to Zagreb. Today they are kept in the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade.
The former monastery with a church dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, whose remains can be seen not far from today's, according tradition was founded by Despot Jovan Brankovic. The first mention of the monastery dates from 1522. During the 17th century, the monastery was deserted, regenerating itself in 1705 when the relics of Emperor Uros were moved to the monastery. Because of the newly created circumstances, a great number of pilgrims and an enlarged fraternity, the building of a new church and shelters began. The works were finished in 1758. The church was built in the tradition of Morava's triconch. Certain influence of Islamic architecture is distinctive, which is seen in column adaptation and decorative elements of the facade. Dimitrije Bacevic painted the iconostasis in 1769.
Monastery Velika Remeta
Velika Remeta Monastery
The monastery was probably founded in the 15th century, but it isn't known who was the founder The first reliable information about the monastery dates from 1543. After it was destroyed at the beginning of the 18th century, the monastery was quickly recovered and at that time the monastery's cells, kitchen and cellar, and high bell tower wet e built (1733-1735) and the new dome followed shortly (1746). The monks from the Rakovica Monastery found their shelter in Remeta as well as monks from the Voljavca Monastery in 1788. It was destroyed during World War II, as being other monasteries at Fruska Gora. The church was ruined and all significant icons were taken away then. After the liberation, the icons were returned and are kept today in the Museum of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade, The Gallery of Matica Srpska Novi Sad and in the Museum Monastery of Krusedol. According to an ancient note of observation from 1568, it is known that the church was decorated with frescos both on the outside and inside, but only a few fragments of the painting are visible today. The iconostasis in the church is from a later date.
Monastery of Mala Remeta
Mala Remeta Monastery
According to tradition, King Dragutin (1272-1281) gave this monastery to the Monastery of Raca as land grant or metoh (land belonging to monastery). The old church was not saved, but a new one was built in 1739. This church of modest dimensions is classified as the most beautiful one among the large number of temples of Frugka Gora. The church is of a crosswise base with a dome, and the facades were created from pressed stone and revived by decorative elements. Inside the church, on the iconostasis and beautiful baroque thrones, there is a display of the icons by Janko Halkozovi& originating from the middle of the 18th century.
Monastery of Privina Glava
Privina Glava Monastery
Privina Glava (Priva's Head)
The tradition connects the founding of this monastery with certain Priba or Priva who allegedly built it in the 12th century. Micro-toponymy, well as information gathered from archaeological findings, tie the origin of the monastery to the Brankovic from Srem. Reliable facts about the monastery come from the 16th century. In this monastery, there was the famous Munich Psalter, once the property of Despot Djuradj Brankovic. The monastery was ruined during wars of Austria and Turkey in 1688. The building of a new church, according to a church of Novo Hopovo model, began in 1741 and lasted for almost two decades. Kuzman Kolaric painted the iconostasis and the choir in 1786 and in 1791.
The first reliable mention of this monastery is from 1578. The older part of today's church, a single nave construction with apse on the east and choirs at the side of accented height, was built in the period between 1732 and 1740. A baroque porch with arcades and high bell tower were added in 1762, while the entrance to the church is a classicist portal from 1787. The throne icons on the iconostasis were created by Janko Halkozovic, 1756-1757, while the others were the work of Dimitrije Bacevie and Teodor Kracun from 1766. The valuables of the Monastery of Beocin are kept today in the Museum of Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade.
The Monastery of Rakovac
The Monastery of Rakovac was, according to documents, founded by, Raka Milosevic, a great courtier of Despot Jovan Brankovic, near the end of 15th century. In this monastery was written the famous manuscript, Rakovacki rukopisni srbljak, the collection of liturgies dedicated to the Serbian saints. Metropolitan Vicentije Jovanovic who had built the bell tower next to the church is buried in the monastery. Unfortunately, Rakovac shared the same destiny as other monasteries of Frugka Gora. It was significantly damaged during World War II and the iconostasis painted by Vasilje Ostojic in 1763 suffered a similar fate. In the interior of this triconch church however, one can still see the fragments of paintings from the end of 16th to the beginning of 17th century.
As in most monasteries of Frugka Gora, the founder and the time of the establishment of Kuvezdin aren't known. The first known fact about the Monastery of St. Sava, or more exactly Kuvezdin, comes from 1566/67. Pajsije, the Metropolitan of Belgrade and Srem, saved the monastery from destruction in 1650. By the end of the 17th century, monks who fled the monasteries of Vinca and Slanci, near Belgrade, came to Kuvezdin. In 1803, today's bell tower was built. The old church probably existed until 1815, when today's baroque and classicist church of ellipsoid dome was built in its place. The interior of the church was decorated by Pavle Simic who, painted ten wall pictures and a new iconostasis with 48 icons. The monastery was destroyed during World War II and is still under reconstruction.
The Monastery of Sisatovac
Sgatovac was founded in 1520 by the Prior of Zica, Teofilo, with the monks Ilarion and Visarion. They had left Zica and came to Srem, building the new church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin, on the site of the former Church of St. Nicolas. Stevan Stiljanovic was buried in Sisatovac in 1540. Today's church was built in the period between the years 1758 and 1778. The church is triconch with a dome. The horizontal lines of the stone on the facade are adorned with pilasters and colonnettes. World War II caused the destruction of both the bell tower and the church. The fragments of frescos painted by Grigorije Davidovic Obsic in 1793 are preserved on the walls. The same painter did the icons for the iconostasis, but they have since disappeared. The triptych performed by Dimitrije Bacevic for the Monastery of Sisatovac is kept today in the monastery's chapel.
The Monastery Of Kovilj
In the vicinity of Novi Sad by the Danube in the place called Kovilj, where Laza Kostic was born, the monastery named after this place is located. According to the legend, the monastery was founded in the 12th century by Saint Sava and its church was dedicated to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Today it is one of the largest churches in Vojvodina. It was built out of stone in the style of the Raska School of architecture in combination with some baroque elements. Eight columns separate the church's interior in three partitions. Above the central part there are two domes that are octagonal on the outside and spherical in the inside. The present iconostasis is a work of Aksentije Marodic from 1871 and it is shaped in the style of Italian renaissance. The initial iconostasis was painted in 1707 by the famous master Teodor Ilic Cesljar but it was burnt in the fire that caught up the church. The church was damaged six times in its history. During the World War II the monastery treasury was also ruined. At the moment, the church is in a very poor condition and demands a thorough restoration. The monastery complex also encompasses a small chapel dedicated to Saint Petka and a large chapel dedicated to the Athonite Saints from the Mount Athos. A new refectory is currently under construction on the location of the old one.
Monasteries Of Fruska Gora
Paragliding at Fruska Gora
Monasteries of Fruska Gora
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Getting to Fruska Gora
The Fruska Gora mountain is very well connected with the rest of the country, with a numerous of important roads going to the mountain - as well as a railway. The mountain is 15 km from Novi Sad and 65 km from Belgrade The old road connecting these two cities passes through the town of Sremski Karlovci.
Much easier to reach Fruska Gora is to hop on any of the numerous buses that link Novi Sad and the mountain villages. Buses operate all day, from morning till evening, and start from the main bus station (Bulevar Oslobodjenja) in Novi Sad.
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