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Decani Monastery

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Decani Monastery

Template:Infobox Historic Site

Visoki Dečani (Serbian: Високи Дечани) is a major Serbian Orthodox Christian monastery located in Metohija (Kosovo),[a] 12 km (7 mi) south of the town of Peć. The monastic katholikon is the largest medieval church in the Balkans containing the most extensive preserved fresco decoration.

History

The monastery was established in a chestnut grove by Serbian King Stefan Uroš III Dečanski in 1327. Its original founding charter is dated to 1330. The following year the king died and was buried at the monastery, which thenceforth became his popular shrine. Indeed, the epithet Dečanski refers to the king's foundation of the monastery. The construction was continued by his son Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Dušan until 1335, but the wall-painting was not completed until 1350.

The monastic church, dedicated to Christ Pantocrator and built from blocks of red-purple, light-yellow and onyx marble, was constructed by builders working under a Franciscan friar, Vitus of Kotor. The church is distinguished by its imposing size and Romanesque and early Gothic structure and design. Apart from the extensive and well preserved fresco cycles the interior features the original 14th-century stone templon, the throne of the hegumen and the carved wooden sarcophagus of the founder King Stefan.

Visoki Dečani was declared Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1990, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia. In 2004, UNESCO listed the monastery on the World Heritage List, citing its frescoes as "one of the most valued examples of the so-called Palaeologan renaissance in Byzantine painting" and "a valuable record of the life in the 14th century". In 2006, it was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the potential for attacks by ethnic-Albanians; it is protected by the United Nations' KFOR.

Architectural features

The church has five-nave naos, a three-part iconostasis, and a three-nave parvise. With a dome, it is 30 m high. Its outer walls are done in alternate layers of white and pink marble. The portals, windows, consoles, and capitals are richly decorated. Christ the Judge is shown surrounded by angels in the western part of the Church. Its twenty major cycles of fresco murals represent the largest preserved gallery of Serbian medieval art, featuring over 1000 compositions and several thousand portraits.

Burials

Gallery

See also

Notes and references

Notes:

a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been Template:Numrec out of Template:UNnum United Nations member states.

References:

  • Bratislav Pantelić, The Architecture of Dečani and the Role of Archbishop Danilo II, Reichert Verlag, 2002.

External links

  • Evaluation by the World Heritage Committee
  • Dečani Monastery on www.kosovo.net
  • Dečani Monastery on www.srpskoblago.org
Template:Seven Wonders of Serbia

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