Morača (monastery)

Shown within Montenegro
Basic information
Location Kolašin; In the valley of the Morača river, central Montenegro
Geographic coordinates 42°45′58″N 19°23′26″E / 42.7661°N 19.3906°E / 42.7661; 19.3906Coordinates: 42°45′58″N 19°23′26″E / 42.7661°N 19.3906°E / 42.7661; 19.3906
Affiliation Serbian Orthodox Church
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral
Architectural description
Architect(s) Stefan Vukanović Nemanjić
Architectural type Byzantine (Ecclesiastical)
Architectural style Rascian style
Completed 1252

Morača Monastery (Serbian: Манастир Морача) is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located in the valley of the Morača River in Kolašin, central Montenegro. It was founded in 1252 by Stefan Vukanović, of the Nemanjić dynasty. It is one of the best known medieval monuments of Montenegro.


The founding history is engraved above the western portal. Stefan, a son of Vukan Nemanjić, the Grand Prince of Zeta (r. 1190-1207; grandson of Stefan Nemanja), founded the monastery in 1252, possibly on his own lands (appanage).[1] The region was under the rule of the Nemanjić dynasty.[1]

Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, reformer of the Serbian language and collector of Serbian epic poems, had recorded two poems regarding the Sack of Kolašin, in which beginning Novica Cerović and Serdar Milan drink wine together besides the white church in Morača.[2]

In July 1944, during World War II, a third session of Yugoslav land assembly was held at the monastery, in which Montenegrin communists demanded that "the separate mention of the Bay of Kotor be excluded" (resulting in its incorporation into PR Montenegro).[3]

Architecture and art

Bell and Church of St. Nicholas.

The assembly church is a big one-nave building in the Rascian style[4] (The style spanned 1170-1300 and differs from the seaside churches), devoted to the Assumption of Mary, including a smaller church devoted to Saint Nicholas, as well as lodgings for travellers. The main door has a high wall which has two entrances, in the romantic style.

Beside the architecture, its frescoes are of special importance; the oldest fresco depicting eleven compositions from the life of the prophet Elias date to the 13th century, while the rest, of lesser condition, date to the 16th century. The 13th-century fresco shows conservative traits, with late-Comnenian figure-schemes, with architectural motifs of heavy and solid blocks, similar in manner to the frescoes of Sopoćani.[5] Out of the later frescoes, Paradise and the Bosom of Abraham and Satan on the Two-Headed Beast are notable Last Judgement depictions, dated to 1577-8.[6] The Ottoman Empire annexed the region in the first half of the 16th century, and the monastery was occupied and damaged, including most of the art.


  1. 1 2 Fine 1994, p. 203
  2. Chadwick, "The growth of literature, Volume 2" (), p. 427
  3. Banac, Ivo, "With Stalin against Tito: Cominformist splits in Yugoslav Communism" (), p. 104
  4. Mitchell 2010, p. 42
  5. Paul Atkins Underwood, "The Kariye Djami, Volume 1", p. 131
  6. John-Paul Himka, "Last Judgment iconography in the Carpathians" (2009), p. 40


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