The monasteries that are dispersed throughout Montenegro, from the Byzantine period until the modern times, reveal the spiritual wealth. Each one of them has its own unique way to enchant the visitors. One of them is the Ostrog Monastery, which attracts people from around the world with its exceptional spiritual power and the unique ambiance. Carved into the high rocks, it is very important as a spiritual and historic center of Montenegro.
The Monastery of Ostrog, the biggest religious sanctuary in Montenegro and one of the most well-known in Southern Europe, is situated high on a rocky mountain massif.
Set within sheer vertical rock overlooking the Zeta valley, Ostrog Monastery offers striking views for visitors and a sacred experience for pilgrims. The monastery, founded by Metropolitan St Basil (Vladika Sv Vasilije) of Hercegovina in the 17th century, is the most visited Orthodox Christian site in Montenegro, and just 45 minutes from Podgorica.
The Ostrog Monastery complex consists of the Lower Monastery (Donji manastir) and the Upper Monastery (Gornji manastir). The main draw of the Lower Monastery is the Holy Trinity Church (Crkva Sv Trojice), which dates from 1824. It’s delightfully colourful, with vivid wall paintings covering every inch of the interior and a beautiful and equally colourful iconostasis.
For the pious (and fit), a very steep two-kilometre footpath up to the main destination. However, for tourists with wheels there’s a nicely paved road that leadsto an upper car park.
Đurđevi stupovi is a Serbian Orthodox monastery near the town of Berane, in northeastern Montenegro. It should not be confused with the more famous Serbian Orthodox monastery of the same name, Đurđevi stupovi, built by Stefan Nemanja in 1170, in Ras, Serbia.
It is the center of the Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Budimlje-Nikšić in Montenegro. It was founded by Stefan Prvoslav, the nephew of Stefan Nemanja, in 1213.
In this monastery are preserved parts of the old frescoes. According to recent studies narthex was painted at the time of Emperor Dusan. The remains of frescoes in the altar also originate from Nemanjic time. Decision of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church in May in 2001. was restored in episcopal Djurdjevi Stupovi of the establishment of the Diocese Budimlje and Niksic .
The Dobrilovina Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Donja Dobrilovina, Mojkovac, northern Montenegro. It is located on the left Tara river banks, in a region known as Potarje, at the beginning of the Tara River Canyon, the deepest river canyon in Europe. The village of Dobrihnina (later Dobrilovina) was mentioned in a Nemanjić charter in 1253, though the oldest preserved mention of the monastery dates back to 1592, when the Ottoman authorities allowed the locals to rebuild their monastery in Dobrilovina. The monastery was built in the Raška architectural school.
There are several widely known orthodox religious buildings across Montenegro. The dates of their foundation (some churches were built in 9th century) and the ancient walls of church buildings retain the stories and collect true history about miraculous characteristics of the buildings themselves, as well as relics of buried saints and miraculous healing powers of monks.
Monastery Ćirilovac, located near the bottom of Bjelasica 11 km away from Kolašin, was built by Arhimandrit and an orthodox padre named Jojilo with sleeping chambers where nuns are serving. On the top of mount Bjelasica, above the monastery, Jojilo has built a chapel where he is to be buried. That chapel is exactly the same as the one in Lovćen which houses the bones of Petar Petrović Njegoš.
Monastery Ćirilovac is known for housing particles of the cross on which Christ was crucified. The monastery is also known for the relics of Saint Vasilije Ostroški that it has kept for 17 years.
Starčevo Monastery is located on the island of Starčevo beside the west coast of beautiful and very rich Skadar Lake. It dates from the period of Đurđe Balšić. It was founded in 1377 by Father Makarije, who lived as an ascetic on the island, so it was called Starčevo (The Old Man’s Monastery) after him. The monastery complex consists of the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God, an accommodation building, supporting structures and a surrounding wall with a gate and several underpinned terraces. The monastery was a centre of literacy, where many manuscripts were rewritten and many books were bound and decorated. The crypt of the printer Božidar Vuković from Podgorica is located in this monastery. After the reconstruction of a part of the accommodation building and after making it fit for dwelling, Starčevo has become an inhabited and active monastery. The monastery in the Middle century became one of the greatest scrivener centers, and later the island became a Turkish property. The monastery had a scriptorium from which two manuscripts have been preserved. Gospel, which is kept in the library Markijani in Venice, is a very important document from that period.
One particularly important Orthodox monastery complex in Montenegro is the Piva Monastery, originally located at the source of the River Piva, and then relocated to another location due to the formation of an accumulation lake for the Piva Hydroelectric Plant. Work on relocating the church lasted for over a decade, from 1970 to 1982. From the church walls 1,260 square metres of frescoes were removed and then relocated. The church building was “deconstructed” stone by stone and rebuilt at the new location, 9 km from Plužine. The monastery church of Uspenja Bogorodice was built between 1573 and 1586 with a lot of effort invested by Herzegovina metropolitan Savatje, later a Serbian patriarch. Beside the architectonic value, which this church has, its value is also seen in its pictures. Unknown Greek painters painted majority of the pictures in years1604 and 1605. The upper part of the monastery was painted by pope Strahinja from Budimlje who on a very visible place painted Bogordicinu himnu (Holy Mother of God’s anthem). Lower zones are work of painter Kozma from distant 1626 year. This painter also did majority of icons on a gilded iconostasis.
The monastery owns a great treasury: Psalter of Djuradj Crnojevic from 1495, “omofor” of Savtije Sokolovic from 1568, personal belongings of Bajo Pivljanin – national hero, and many other things.
Monastery is located 2 km east of Herceg Novi in the unique ambience of the Mediterranean vegetation. It is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in the Adriatic. It consists of three churches: two dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the monastery shelter with the treasury on the north side of the courtyard, and church of St. Sava, isolated on a nearby hill. Above the door of the Small Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, on the inner side, there is a fresco inscription from 1831 where the year of 1030 is mentioned as the year when the church was built. Several layers of fresco painting were discovered on the inner walls of the church. The Great Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was built from the 1777 to 1799 by the master Nikola Foretić from Korčula. In architectural terms, this church is a mixture of styles from Byzantine through the Roman-Greek to the Baroque style – a successful combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The iconostasis is also a blend of traditional iconography and the new baroque forms.
Situated in the fields of Cetinje, at the base of the Lovcen mountain, Cetinje is a treasure of Montenegrin cultural and historical heritage. It scent with the architecture from 18th and 19th century that comes from rich greenery of this small city. During King Nikolas reign many embassies were built that give it today’s specific looks. Two of the most representative buildings are the Monasteries of Cetinje and Biljarda. Cetinje Monastery even though the Turks destroyed it several times, the people built it up again. The Cetinje Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Montenegro. It is located in Cetinje and is the seat of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral and its name derives from Saint Peter of Cetinje. A center of historical and cultural importance, it was founded between 1701 and 1704 by Prince-Bishop Danilo I . There are relics of Saint Petar of Cetinje, one the illustrious patrons of Montenegrin history. Cetinje Monastery represents the spiritual and political seat of the Montenegrin people. For the state purpose Njegos built Biljarda, a building (monastery) that took its name after the pool (billiards) that this exceptional poet, metropolitan, philosopher and statesman liked to play. Cetinje abounds in museums, as well as the Art Academy, parks and from Orlov Krs there is great view of the city and the mountain of Lovcen.
The monastery Moraca was raised on the right bank of the River Moraca, not far from Kolasin. This church was built in 1252 by Stefan Nemanja, son of king Vukasin, and grandson of Nemanja, which can be seen on the inscription, which is situated above the doors on the west entrance. This mystical sacral edifice is surrounded, like a medieval fortress, with high stonewall inside which there are sleeping quarters which can tell you some legend from this area. According to one legend, which is present among the local people, this monastery was made of special yellow stone, which is found in the area very far from the place where the monastery actually is. According to this legend people from this area made a column, which was tens of kilometers long, and in that way turned the stone from hand to hand from the place called Tusine, the place where the stone was located, to the present monastery Moraca. The monastery complex is made of Synod church Uspenja Bogorodice (Uspenje – Falling into sleep, Falling into Sleep of Holy Mother of God), small church of Sveti Nikola (St. Nicolas), as well as of sleeping quarters building. Synod church is big and has one transept. It was made in style of Raska churches, with a half circle apsidal and dome and in difference to the churches, which have been made in coastal style; the walls of this church have been rendered. Main entrance is made in roman style. Along with frescoes especially beautiful are icons which are placed next to the iconostasis, and which were made by the greatest masters of XVIII century. The icon of Sveti Sava (St. Sava), and the icon of Sveti Luka (St. Luke) are considered to be the most valuable pieces of icon drawing on Balkan Peninsula. Several antiques and relics such as hand of Sveti Haralampije (St. Haralampije) engraved crosses, baptistery made of marble and a rod, which according to a legend belonged to Sveti Sava. Special place among precious things has the cross in the altar made in XVI century in walnut tree, which according to a legend was being made for 11 years. The monastery itself will give you an unforgettable experience if you visit it.