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Serbia and Montenegro

Fruska Gora

We had a great day trip out to the area of Fruska Gora just north of Belgrade - a beautiful national park that was in the midst of late-spring bloom. It is famous for having a large number of older monasteries as well - monasteries that have seen their share of war.


Our first stop was at Vrdnik (Ravanica), where Susan ran for a bathroom and then we all enjoyed the gilt-encrusted main room. 

We were welcomed in by nuns who, although we couldn't communicate with them, seemed very glad to have us visit. The monastery itself  is mentioned in documents dating back to 1589, although the current church dates from 1811. We found some impressive wood statues that seemed to be at least that old!!
The kids relaxed for a bit afterwards in a local park dedicated to the partisans who fought the Nazis in WW2.

On our way through the winding countryside, we saw field after field of gorgeous blooming poppies among scattered ruins of castles. 

Alea and Breck were glad to take a 'boat break' at the top of a pass and play in the mud for a while!


Our next stop was at the monastery of Novo Hopovo monastery, a sprawling complex that has undergone extensive reworking over the past 450 years. There is a "newer" original chuch built in 1576 on the site of the 1451 original that was surrounded by buildings in the 1700s. We could really see the Byzantine influence in its 12-sided dome. All of the buildings were damaged during WWII (and the more recent NATO bombings) but have been repaired and rebuilt. 
There is also (supposedly) an older church called Stari Hopovo nearby, but while we had a nice hike through the countryside, we couldn't find it. Oh well.

The last monastery stop was Krusedol - originally founded in the late 1400s, it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. It contains relics from King Obrenovic's body, and is most infamously remembered for being used as a prison and torture chamber. The Ustase would bring partisans here to torture and kill them (under the watchful eyes of 16th and 18th century frescos). Nice.

Our last stop of the day was in Sremski Karlovci, a little town just south of Novi Sad. It has been described as "one of the most attractive in all of Serbia," and who are we to argue with that? 
The kids relaxed by chasing pigeons and picking roses in the central square. The parents relaxed by snapping a couple of pictures of the churches and buildings dating from the 1700s that surrounded us and drinking a couple of cold beers from the present day that tasted pretty darn good after all that hiking around! 
Although the winery we wanted to visit was closed, we did go inside the main church just as it opened for services, and the kids got to light a candle - their favorite thing to do. Then it was home again, tired in a good way from a full day of exploration.

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