Serbia and Montenegro
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
|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
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
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.
Back to the Serbia