25 May Ljubostinja Monastery (Trstenik)
An ornate medieval masterpiece built upon the foundations of love, Ljubostinja Monastery is one of the most recognisable symbols of Central Serbia. Witness one of the finest examples of Serbian medieval architecture, built on the site where Serbian folklore states that Prince Lazar and Princess Milica met for the first time.
Ljubostinja Monastery is located in its namesake valley just 4 km north of Trstenik, roughly 15 km from Serbia’s famous spa town, Vrnjacka Banja. Nearby you may find a gaggle of monasteries, including the the Monastery of St Petka. Additionally, a hike to the top of the Gledic mountain isn’t too far off either, at just an hour’s drive away, completing the perfect one-day adventure.
Burial place and endowment of Princess Milica, the monastery was constructed between 1388 and 1405. Its name originates from two words, “ljubve” and “stan”, roughly translating to “place of love”. Her royal majesty left the throne to her son, Stefan, following her husband’s death during the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Just like many other widows of soldiers and noblemen during the time, she spent her remaining days as a nun of the monastery.
The Ljubostinja Monastery belongs to the Morava school of architecture, renowned for creating richly decorated exteriors. Built by Rade Borovic, whose name can be found at the bottom of the entrance, the monastery is divided in two sections by a horizontal cordon cornice. The lower section features lancet and two-light windows, while wheel and rose windows adorn the upper area. Take notice that the monastery’s upper windows are intricately decorated with floral and geometrical patterns, making them one of the building’s standout features.
Inside, little remains of the original frescoes painted by Makarije of Zrze in 1403. Of all its original 15th-century artwork, the Annunciation of the whole Festival Cycle is the only frescoe to completely survive. Other well-preserved artworks, include “Great Holidays”, “Miracles”, and “Passion”.
Travel Tips & Essentials:
- Just like with many other monasteries in Serbia, make sure to dress appropriately for your visit. Long pants, enclosed shoes, and a button-up shirt are your safest bet.
How to get to Ljubostinja Monastery:
Getting here via Trstenik is your best way of reaching this attraction, should you be using public transport. Buses regularly travel here from Belgrade and you can view timetables here. From Trstenik, local transport services are available.