Ljubostinja Monastery

Ljubostinja Monastery

Legends say that Ljubostinja Monastery was built on the “love-site” where Princess Milica met Prince Lazar /future spouse/ for the first time. This love-occasion had happened on the day of St Archdeacon Stefan to whom the earlier chapel on the same place had been dedicated. The construction of Ljubostinja Monastery which was endowment and burial church of Princess Milica started in 1388. After the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 when King Lazar was killed, Queen Milica left the throne to her older son Stefan and became nun Evgenija. At the time of Serbian history after the tragic Kosovo Battle many widows of tragic Serbian soldiers and Noblemen went to Monasteries.

Ljubostinja Monastery was built of trimmed stones and is famous for richly exterior sculptured windows, lunettes and rosettes. Monastery is one of the most beautiful examples of the Serbian Medieval architecture. Architecturally the church of Ljubostinja Monastery, dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin belongs to the Morava School of architecture which is especially rich in exterior decoration, with sculptured windows, lunettes and rosettes. Its ground plan has the trefoil form with a dome resting on four free-standing pillars. It is extended westward into a rectangular narthex with a blind calotte, vaulted with spacious dome. Facade of stone of Ljubostinja Monastery was plastered and painted after construction in order to achieve appearance as it was built of rows of stone and bricks. A horizontal cordon cornice divides the facade of Ljubostinja Monastery into two zones: in the lower one there are lancet and two-light windows, and the upper zone which is ornamented with rose and wheel windows of unequal size with floral and geometrical patterns. Paintings of Ljubostinja Monastery featuring expressive figures, strong contrast of light and dark, and architectural motifs in the background are only partially preserved, due to the fire set by Turks in the 17th and the 18th century. Frescoes of Ljubostinja Monastery  were painted just after the Battle of Kosovo /1392/ and 10 years later /1403/. In the narthex of Ljubostinja Monastery there are portraits of endowers – Prince Lazar and Princess Milica and Despot Stefan and his brother Vuk, pained by Hieromonk Makarije. From the painting works of Ljubostinja Monastery are “Great Holidays,” “Sufferings,” “Christ’s Miracles”.… still preserved. In the church of Ljubostinja Monastery stand the graves of Queen Milica herself, the nun Jefimija and of her son Ugljesa. Nun Jefimija was the first Serbian poets who wrote the meaningful Eology for Knez Lazar /the unique prayer – poem which is not well known only for its beauty but also because it describes the events around the Kosovo Battle and the historic period just after that. In the tranquility of Ljubostinja Monatery nun Jefimija embroidered the text in gold on the Shroud of Knez Lazar which is present day kept in the Museum of the Orthodox Church in Belgrade. Ljubostinja Monastery is situated in the valley of Ljubostinja River, 5 km north of Trstenik and 17 km north-east of Vrnjacka Banja Spa.

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