Mediaeval monuments in Kosovo

The mediaeval Serbian sites in Kosovo and Metohija which are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list are Dečani monastery, the monastery of the Patriarchate of Peć, the church of Our Lady of Ljeviš in Prizren and Gracanica monastery. They represent the peak of Byzantine Romanreligious culture, with a unique style of fresco-painting which arose in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries.

Their architecture and frescoes, together with the icons and church fixtures preserved in them, the Patriarchate of Peć, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica and Dečani paint a rich picture of artistic life in mediaeval Serbia. They bear the marks of contemporary Byzantine artistic influences (Patriarchate of Peć, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Gračanica and the painting of Dečani), combined with elements of Western art of the time (the architecture and painting of Dečani). Thanks to their benefactors and their associates, these monuments continue to rise head and shoulders above their local environments.

These mediaeval Serbian monuments are in the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija, which is currently under the administration of the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK). Since 2006 they have been entered in the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, due to the unstable security situation prevailing in the province. After the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, and the arrival of the international KFOR peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and Metohija, Albanian extremists have either destroyed or severely damaged more than 100 Orthodox churches and monasteries. Some Serbian Orthodox monasteries survive only thanks to the courage and dedication of their monks and the military protection of international peace-keeping forces. The monasteries can only be visited under the military escort of KFOR troops.

Dečani monastery

Patriarchate of Peć

Our Lady of Ljeviš

Gračanica monastery


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