Sunday, December 29, 2013

Krusedol Monastery - Fruska Gora, Serbia

The Fruska Gora is a mountain massif in the Vojvodina province of Serbia and has been referred to as the "jewel of Serbia" because of its beauty. It is 50 miles from east to west and 9 miles from north to south with a high peak of 1,768 feet in elevation. Fruska Gora means "Frankish mountain" referring to a time when the area was part of the Frankish Empire.  The slopes are covered with orchards and vineyards and there are areas of dense deciduous trees, including the largest concentration of lime trees in Europe. The valleys are covered with meadows, pastures and cornfields. The area has one of the oldest wine traditions in Europe. There were massive plantings of vines there during the third century reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus. There are 23 villages and several towns on the edge of the mountain and at one time there were 38 monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church, endowed by the Serbian royal family from the 15th to 18th centuries. There is no other area of the world with a greater concentration of monasteries, including Mount Athos and Mount Sinai. In fact, Fruska Gora is sometimes called the Mount Athos of Serbia. 17 of the monasteries still exist. I have previously posted on the Novo Hopovo Monastery and the Staro Hopovo Monastery, also on Fruska Gora. 
A roadside stand selling fruit grown on the Fruska Gora.
Krusedol Monastery was built between 1509 and 1515 by Bishop Maksim Brankovic on the southern Fruska Gora near the village of Irig. The monastery church is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin. It was originally built in a Moravian architectural style, with a three-leaved clover floor plan, with an altar apse and two semi-circular side apses. It has an eight-sided dome with eight windows which sits above the nave (main body of the church). The monastery was heavily damaged in 1716 when retreating Turks, fleeing before Prince Eugene of Savoy and his Christian armies, set it aflame. The fire destroyed the relics of the Brankovic family, but what remains of them are preserved in special coffins. As a result of the fire, the church was renovated in a baroque style, beginning in 1721 and completed in the late 1750s, and a five story bell tower was added. There are now nine baroque style windows on the facade.  On the western wall, above the entrance, is a fresco of the Last Judgment. The church has a beautiful iconostasis, believed carved in 1653, with 36 icons, including one from the 15th century. 
The monastery is surrounded by a fence and the entrance gate is a large red church-looking building (this picture is taken from the inside looking out).
A closer look at the church-like entrance structure.
Mosaic in the entrance structure.
Mosaic in the entrance structure.
The monastery itself looks a lot like Novo Hopovo, with yellow buildings a red roof and a church in the inner court inside the rectangular structure. However, unlike Novo Hopovo, this rectangle is completely enclosed and the buildings are painted white in the inner court. 
The church inside the rectangular walls. The altar apse is at the back, one of the side apses is to the right and the bell tower is at the right. 
Inside the monastery walls are beautiful flowers and grounds.

Monastery products.
Honey and honey packed with nuts and dried fruit: we bought one of the latter and it was very good.
The monastery's own wine with a monastery label. 
The dome, center, the bell tower to the right which is disconnected from the church - the entrance is in front of the bell tower.
Back of the church.
View which includes the front of the church., taken from here.
One of the Baroque windows.
Small cross on the back roof.
The eight-sided dome with eight windows.
A monument embedded in the church wall: a crown over two Russian style eagles on top of a lion or some other sort of wild beast.
Fresco above the entrance. 
Portion of the entrance fresco.
Portion of entrance fresco.
Portion of entrance fresco.
Inside frescoes: we could not take picture inside, so this picture is taken from here.
Inside frescoes: taken from here.
Inside frescoes: taken from here.
Iconostasis: from here.
Portion of iconostasis: from here.


  1. While the inside of this monastery was beautiful, I especially loved the landscaping. I think it had more flowers than any other place we visited. I also loved the elderly ladies selling monastery products. It was one of those places that made me feel like we were really in a foreign country.

  2. This place will be forever in my heart. A beautiful place in a remote country side with so much history and pain. This place is a relic of Christian martyrs who died for their faith. The wall frescos tell the story of survival and of a Christ that is risen for its people again. It gives you a true perspective on the history of this land. There is nothing in this place that tells you the story and no one will explain it to you, but if you understand history and art take a look at the coats of paints over these frescos that they are still trying to clean away and you will see and feel the pain of these martyrs back through time.