Getting acquainted with Serbian people, their traditions, customs and culture should be started by visiting Serbian monasteries. The term “monastery” basically means a church with accompanying buildings where according to the rules monks and nuns live. Serbia can be proud of its 212 monasteries, 54 of which were proclaimed cultural monuments. Moreover, UNESCO World Heritage List includes Serbian monasteries Sopoćani and Đurđevi Stupovi with the church of Saint Peter and Paul, Studenica monastery, medieval monasteries in southern Serbian Province Kosovo and Metohija called Dečani, Pećka Patriarchy, Gračanica, and the Church of Our Lady of Ljeviš.
Although Serbian monasteries are located in every Serbian region there is still some geographical division. For example, north of Serbia, slopes of fertile mountain Fruška Gora known as “Serbian Holy Mountain” host even 17 monasteries built mainly during the rule of Ottoman Empire in Serbia in 15th and 16th centuries, when Serbian court was hiding at the territory of Hungary of that time. Firstly built in Morava-Raška style, the monasteries after numerous destructions and restorations get rich baroque look. Along with Fruška Gora, another “Holy Mountain” can be proud of its heritage from the 16th and 17th centuries – Ovčar-Kablar canyon of the river Western Morava.
In the valley of the Morava river in Central Serbia after tragic battles against Turkish invaders on Marica River on Kosovo, so-called Morava Architecture school was born. Nowadays monasteries Manasija, Ravanica, Kalenić, Ljubostinja are the most prominent monasteries of that style that was mostly linked to late 14th and early 15th century, era of Serbian despots.
The “Valley of the Kings” is related to the valley of rivers Ibar and Raška where in the 12th century Serbian medieval state was born, it hosts one of the greatest monasteries of Serbia. These are Đurđevi Stupovi, Studenica, Žiča and Sopoćani. Fantastic mixture of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture created a new specific trend, the prominent Raška architecture school. The mentioned monasteries with all the rights were included in the „Rout of culture Transromanica“ – rout that binds European heritage of the Romanesque period.
On extreme south of Serbia, at Kosovo and Metohija Province, where medieval Serbia reached the top of its power and force, the most valuable and beautiful monasteries are located. Dečani, Pećka Patriarchy and Gračanica are the gem of Serbian artists of Middle age.