World Cultural Heritage

THE STARI RAS AND SOPOCANI MONUMENT AREA
in 1979 entered the
UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage List

This area is situated around the river Raska, in the wider region of the city of Novi Pazar. This whole region represents the core of the medieval Serbian state which at the time bore the name of Raska due to the whole region. A series of monuments and old villages illustrate the historical, spiritual and artistic continuity of organized life. The architectural and artistic works of authentic and invaluable artistic significance are closely connected with the events and persons of crucial importance for the history of Serbia during the period of almost two full centuries - the church of St Peter and Paul, the monasteries Djurdjevi Stupovi and Sopocani, the remains of a fort above the confluence of the rivers Sebeceva and Raska and other archaelogical sites. The old city core of Novi Pazar and many Orthodox churches, built during the Turkish rule, are a testimony on a continuity of life in the region.

 

The St. Peter and Paul church was directly endangered by repeated detonations in the nearest vicinity.

St Peter and Paul church
Church from the southwest 9th-16th century

During the heavy day bombardment of Novi Pazar on May 30th detonations occurred in the nearest vicinity.

The St Peter and Paul church ranks among the oldest medieval sacred monuments in Serbia. As a bishopric see it is mentioned as far as 10th century. The temple is of special significance for Serbian history since it had an important role in key events in the life of the Great Prince Stefan Nemanja: he was baptised there; the council organized against the heretics (Bogumils); and the hand over of the rule to the son Stefan. The architectural design is based on a circular plan with a dome and has remained dominant as such up to the present days. However, it was remodeled and many new elements have been added (a gallery, a ring shaped nave, later partitioned with an irregular adjacent building). The three layers of the fragmentarily preserved frescoes date, from 9th-10th and the beginning of 12th centuries with monumental tombstones dating from 17th and 19th centuries.

 


The Djurdjevi Stupovi monastery was directly endangered by repeated detonations in the nearest vicinity.

St George church
Djurdjevi Stupovi, Arial view of the church 1168-1172

St Trinity
Djurdjevi Stupovi, St. Trinity 1315

The Djurdjevi Stupovi monastery is situated on top of a hill and represents a panoramic feature of Novi Pazar. The monastery is an edowment of the Great Prince Stefan Nemanja. The whole complex consists from the St George church, refectory, monastic residential quarters (konak), water tanks and the surrounding walls with the tower. It was built between 1168 and 1172. The church itself is of somewhat western, Romanesque style and the frescoes are of the best Byzantine tradition of Komnen style. In 1282-83 the the entrance tower was turned into chapel and the sepulchre of the King Dragutin. It was decorated with frescoes depicting historical events. During the period 1960-1982 extensive archaelogical and restoration works were perfomed on the whole complex.

During the heavy day bombardment of Novi Pazar on May 30th detonations occurred in the nearest vicinity.

 
 


Sopocani, Church from the west 1265

 

The Sopocani monastery - The frescoes in the St Trinity church in Sopocani represent one of the most impressive frescoe works in the Byzantine painting. It is the work of the most gifted painters - amazing use of colours and perfect drawings. The frescoes were painted by 1265 and they are the masterpieces of the classic style with special characteristics of harmony and beauty. The Sopocani ktetor, the King Urosh I erected his endowment according to the style of his ancestors - in the tradition of the old Rashka builders. At the beginning of 14th century an outer open nartex with a steeple was added in front of the monastery church.

 


Sopocani, Apostle John 1265


Sopocani, Dormition of the Virgin 1265