Dubocica Monastery

Dubocica Monastery near Pljevlja is located on the tiny plateau of the Otilovici village on the left bank of the Cehotina River near Pljevlja in north of Montenegro. The Dubocica Monastery is dedicated to Saint Nicholas and makes an example of medieval architecture of the Byzantine style from the 16th century. The church of Dubocica Monastery was built around 1570 in the northern part of Montenegro, fully surrounded with lush forests and high mountains, lakes and rivers of Tara, Cehotina and Breznica. Dubocica Monastery is located right along the regional road Pljevlja – Pavino Polje – Bijelo Polje. Due to the construction of an artificial lake on the Cehotina River, the church was relocated in the village of Otilovici, 11 km southeast of Pljevlja, and completely restored. Special attention in the Dubocica Monastery is attracted by frescoes and iconostasis as well as to the fact tha Saint Basil of Ostrog spent six year in the service of this monastery.

The church of Dubocica Monastery is simple one nave structure with narthex and semi-circular apse, built of river pebble stone and limestone that attract faithful people for prayer with hope. The Dubocica Monastery church is 13 meters long and 7 meters wide, without dome, featuring semicircular vault. The church of Dubocica Monastery is dug into the ground surface and its interior is much larger than the outer size and appearance. The narthex and naos of the Dubocica Monastery are separated with a wall. Two pair of columns between which are arches along walls divide the central part of the Dubocica Monastery church into two irregular sections. Semicircular vault is enforced with crossbeam arches. In the altar of the Dubocica Monastery are sections of diakonikon and sanctuary while on the floor completed of stone slabs dominates a very decorative amvone. Of all of five small windows in the form of loop holes are set on the southern wall, while the northern wall has one window and the apse has another one. Above the vaulted door of the Dubocica Monastery is spacious section, also vaulted where once was a fresco of the patron saint – Saint Nicholas.

Fresco painting of the Dubocica Monastery was completed in 1565 when the territories of the former Serbian state and the Patriarchate of Pec were already integrated into the Ottoman Empire. Well preserved fresco inscription above the door on the western wall of the naos testify on completion of fresco decoration of the Dubocica Monastery. The fresco cycle in the Dubocica Monastery belongs to a small number of preserved cycles which were created on the territory under jurisdiction of the Serbian Church in the 16th century. Dubocica Monastery frescoes were damaged by the relocation of the church which had not yet been covered in scholarly literature. The cycle of Saint Nicholas church of Dubocica Monastery painted in the narthex makes one of the most extensive preserved works of the Serbian art from the Ottoman period and consists of nineteen scenes two of which rarely appear within the Serbian context. Besides frescoes the iconostasis and church furniture of the Dubocica Monastery attract special attention of visitors.  In the first zone are painted standing figures of saints, while the ceiling is painted with scenes of Great Holidays and the Christ passions. On the western wall of the Dubocica Monastery are painted busts of Saint Nicholas and the Holy Virgin with Christ. Above saints in the second zone are depicted life cycles of Saint Nicholas, from birth, school days, scenes of miracles until the death. Here are also painted numerous hermits and ascetics, which leads to the conclusion that all those figures were most probably depicted under influence and according to recommendations of monks of the Dubocica Monastery.

The Dubočica Monastery boasts harmonious wood-carved and gold plated iconostasis. Lovely cross with Crucifixion was completed in 1622 while the other its parts were completed a bit later – in 1682. Wood-carved round of the Holy Virgin and the candelabrum from the 17th century are hung in front of the iconostasis. Icons are works of different icon painters and date from different periods, but the Deisis with skillfully nuances of figures of apostles is supposed to be painted by Master painter Radul and distinguishes itself by its artistic beauty and specific way of painting procession. Movable fund and church furniture of the Dubocica Monastery contains rarely preserved complex of monuments from the 16th and the 17th century that is well condition until the present day.

“The outer simplicity of the Dubočica Monastery which resembles more on the house, is characterized for churches erected during the Turkish occupation built not to attract attention. The monastic complex of Dubocica is encircled with stone wall with a gate on the northern side, and beside the church itself, it contains an tiny ground dormitory in the southern part and the wooden belfry in the northwestern part, and small accessory structure in the southeastern part of the complex”. TO Pljevlja

Observation point in Matagure village, in the hamlet of Gačevića Dolina /with several preserved examples of old rural traditional architecture/ is beautiful spot from where spreads magic panorama of the meanders of the Ćehotina river, carved into the surrounding rocks, that resembles the meanders of the Uvac River – the world famous attraction of Serbia. Observation point  is located some 20 km away from Pljevlja, on the regional road Pljevlja – Vrulja – Bijelo Polje, in Mataruge village. Meanders of the Cehotina River before it joins the Drina River make the true jewel of the Pljevlja area. The observation point is set on the artificial lake on the Ćehotina River in Mataruge village, and was arranged for tourist visits by members of the NGO “Da zazivi selo” and Tourist Organization of Pljevlja. The artificial lake was created more than 30 years ago for the needs of the “Pljevlja” Thermal Power Plant. Visitors of the Dubočica Monastery are also warmly recommended to visit the pre-historical site of the Mališina pećina locality situated on the right bank of the Ćehotina River in Ljutići village whose artifacts testify on human existence in the time from 38000 years to 13780+/-140 years !!

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