ŽIČA MONASTERY (Манастир Жича)

We arrived late in the afternoon at an early 13th-century Serbian Orthodox Žiča monastery near Kraljevo. The monastery, together with the Church of the Holy Dormition, was built by the first King of Serbia, Stefan the First-Crowned, and the first Head of the Serbian Church, Saint Sava. Žiča was the seat of the Archbishop (1219–1253) and by tradition the coronational church of the Serbian kings. The church, dedicated to the Ascension of Our Lord, displays the features of the Raska school. The ground plan is shaped as a spacious nave with a large apse at its eastern end. The central space is domed. The church was built of stone and brick. Architecturally, the Byzantine spirit prevails. The earliest frescoes were painted immediately after the first archbishop Sava’s return from Nicaea (1219), but only in the choir portions of these have been preserved. Towards the end of the 13th century, Žiča was burned and consequently deserted. The renovation was carried out during the time of Archbishops Jevstatije II (1292-1309), and Nikodim (1317-1337), when the refectory was adorned with frescoes, the church covered with a leaden roof, and a tower erected. The new frescoes were painted during the reign of King Milutin, but they have suffered serious damage, too. Fragments have survived on the east wall of the passage beneath the tower (the composition of King Stefan and his son Radoslav), in the narthex, nave, and side-chapels.

Parking location – Žiča: 43.692391N 20.646002E (💦, 🚻)