change background

Boznia and Herzegovina

Zavala Monastery

Home / Zavala Monastery

Zavala Monastery

  • Zavala Monastery, located about 40 km southwest of Trebinje, on the south-west side of Popovo Polje /Popovo Field/, below the Ostrog Hill is dedicated to Entrance of the Holy Virgin to the temple. According to the national oral tradition it is endowment of Serbian Kind Dragutin. The year of 1271 which is inscribed in the old Zavala monastery seal is often mentioned in regard with the foundation of the Zavala Monastery. Along with Žitomislić and Tvrdoš monasteries, Zavala Monasatery is one of the most important centers of cultural life in East Herzegovina.

    The uniqueness of Zavala Monastery architecture is determined with its solitude secluded location what makes it true monastic sanctuary. The tiny church has one-have base with semicircle apse on the eastern side from the outside. The norther side of the church and altar are carved into the large cliff. The famous fresco painter Georgije Mitrofanović who fresco-painted Chilandary Monastery on Athos Mountain stayed here during the 17th century before he had arrived here. He also had decorated Monastery of Dobrićevo near Bileca in Herzegovina.

    The earliest document on Zavala Monastery date from 1514 which testified that its Abbot had bought large vineyards. Many significant church manuscripts were written during this period. Along the course of the next century monastic library was enriched with new books from Sremski Karlovci and Belgrade, among which were numerous Russian books on lives of saints and gospels. Saint Vasilije Ostroski started his monastic life in Zavala Monastery.

    During the Second World War Zavala Monastery experienced serious damage when Ustashas destroyed and plundered its valuable collections. In the most recent war Zavala Monastery was damaged and abandoned while the village of Zavala was completely destroyed. Zavala Monastery was restored after the war and regained its monastic life. Zavala Monastery together with Tvrdos and Zitomislic Monasteries represent the core of the culture and the Orthodox religion of Herzegovina.