In the yard of the Studenica monastery, built in the second half of the 12th century by Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Serbian state, two new churches have been discovered, which casts new light on the history of this famous edifice. Studenica is one of the biggest and richest monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church, located in the vicinity of the city of Kraljevo. According to archaeologist Marko Popovic, the experts of the republican institute for the protection of cultural monuments have found the remnants of two churches from the 13th century in the yard of the exquisite complex of that sanctity.
Popovic pointed for our radio to an interesting fact – the two newly discovered churches were burnt in the late 14th century and have never again been renovated, while nothing else has been built on that spot. The remnants are located in the eastern part of the monastery compound, and the discovered pieces of dining ceramics will soon be taken to Belgrade for research, added Popovic. He has explained that thanking to the three-year archaeological exploration a dilemma has finally been solved, whether the ramparts around Studenica were built in the era of Stefan Nemanja or before. Namely, the archaeological data shows without any doubt that the walls were erected at the same time as the church, which means that Stefan Nemanja had the idea of Studenica as a fortified monastery, explains our collocutor.
He has emphasized that back in the era building fortified monasteries was not common, and that only in late 15th century the walls were put around monasteries of Ravanica, Manasija and other churches, mainly due to the Turkish threat. This is exactly the reason that now the scientists are looking for an answer to the question why was Stefan Nemanja compelled to build the wall around its main endowment, thus turning it into a veritable fortress.
The Studenica monastery is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, and it is especially renowned for its collection of frescoes from 13th and 14th centuries. For that reason, in 1986 UNESCO included it into the World Heritage List. The archaeological research in Studenica started on July 15 this year, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, and according to Popovic, it should be completed next year.