Manastir Sopoćani

Doljani, Novi Pazar

Monastery Sopocani - the most important information 

Sopocani, as well as the surroundings of the monastery, are characterized by world-class beauty. Primarily raised to be an endowment, this building has acquired many other functions over time. When it comes to describing such a magnificent edifice, words remain insufficient. It is best to witness its beauty up close, so we recommend that you set off as soon as possible through the Raska area, where this monastery lies.

History of the monastery
Built at the very source of the Serbian state, 17 km from today's city of Novi Pazar, the Sopocani monastery is a building with elements of multiple significance. Its very name comes from the Slavic word sopot, which means spring.

From the aspect of history, this is a building that remembers the presence of the most powerful Serbian medieval dynasty rulers - Nemanjici. The founder of the monastery himself is King Stefan Uros I, the son of Stefan Prvovencani, who first built a church around 1260 and dedicated it to the Holy Trinity. From that moment on, many other rulers kept upgrading the monastery and maintaining its appearance in the classical Raska style.

The period in which Sopocani suffered the most, as an Orthodox place of worship and a monument of Serbian culture, is certainly the period of Turkish conquests. At that period, the entire monastery complex was damaged and impoverished in several stages, and the church itself suffered immense destruction. Only after the liberation of the Raska area in 1926, the restoration of the church and surrounding buildings began.

Significance of the monastery
Today, monastery is a treasury of unique frescoes, a mausoleum of the royal family, a victim of history, and a place of worship. In Sopocani, you can see something that makes the monastery stand out in the world of art.
Its premises store data valuable for Serbian history, and physical and spiritual renewals are constantly being done in the vicinity of the monastery.

Due to their multi-layered value and active spiritual life, Sopocani has been included in the list of world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Thus, the past and the future of the monastery got under protection. Yet, it still gladly receives visitors and delights believers, lovers of history, art, and crafts, as well as ordinary tourists.

What to see
What monastery Sopocani is best known for are:
  • Compositions of frescoes - these frescoes are considered to be the greatest painting achievements of that time. They were painted in the classic antique style by the most famous artists of Constantinople. The compositions are arranged so that the central part shows the great feasts, scenes from the life of Christ, and the figures of the great saints. The most famous painting units are:
    • Fresco of the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God - a composition that stands out with the fineness of its work and the size that covers the entire 40 square meters of the wall.
    • Scenes from the life of Christ about the figures of great saints - in the central part of the church.
    • Characters of historical figures of this era - in the narthex of the monastery.
  • Mausoleum of the royal family - as a family tomb, the monastery keeps a red marble sarcophagus. Its founder, King Stefan Uros I, lies in it. Next to him, his relatives, members of the royal family, and the elders of the monastery were also buried here.
  • Monastery workshops - studios in which icon-painting, woodcarving, and tailoring works are being created.

How to get to the monastery
As the monastery itself is located in an accessible place near Novi Pazar, it can be reached by car quite quickly.
  • By car: from the direction of Novi Pazar, the best way is through Trgoviste, where you can stop and visit the old town of Ras. The ride takes about 20 minutes, and on the way, you will see many natural and tourist places to relax and enjoy.
Best time to visit
Every day from 9 am to 5 pm

Liturgy schedule
Sunday: Holy Liturgy at 8 pm

Additional information
Don't miss trying some of the fruits, vegetables, and honey that the monks grow in the vicinity of the monastery.
The following events are held within the Sopocani area:
  • Likovna kolonija (Art Colony) (July 1-15): showing both new and old techniques of medieval fresco painting.
  • Tradicija i savremenost (Tradition and modernity) (end of June): when a large number of literary and art critics gather here.
Dress code: it is recommended that you come to the monastery properly dressed in clothes that cover the shoulders and knees.

The surroundings:
The surroundings of this region are connected to the remnants of Serbian medieval history and natural beauty. In the vicinity of the monastery you can see:
  • Spring of Raska river
  • The medieval capital of old Ras

Amenities

Type of Attractions
  • Brige
  • Museum

Location

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