Mažići Monastery

Mažići Monastery

The Monastery in the Mažići village is also found in the literature as Saint George in Dabar or Orahovica Monastery. The Monastery of Saint George in Mažici village ranks among the six most significant Serbian shrines since it was erected on the cult spot which used to be burial place in prehistory, at the beginning of the Bronze Age /about 1900 BC/. This fact is clear by remains of the cult place in the proximity of the Church of Saint George Monastery – Mazici. The very place was used for burials in the Roman period as well as in the early Medieval era. Mažići Monastery was first time destroyed during the penetration of the Kuman Army probably after 1240. Mazici Monastery was rebuilt by Serbian King Milutin is such manner that the King’s Biographer Danilo II wrote as about the entirely new structure. During its history Mazici Monastery was several time destroyed to experience its final demolition in 1743 after what it was never reconstructed until the beginning of archaeological excavation and reconstruction carried out in 1999. Mazici Monastery is one nave structure with the characteristic circle dome and represents one of the oldest shrines in the West Serbia. Mazici Monastery is similar to the nearby recently restored Pustinja Monastery and the Church of St Elijah in Priboj Banja Spa, Zitin and Kumanica Monasteries by its architectural features. Below the Church of St George three skeletons were found since only important historical persons and prelates were buried here : Episcopal and church dignitaries of higher status and members of ruler’s families. It would not be strange that those persons buried here were the specific reason of King Milutin’s reconstruction of the Monastery. All monasteries built or reconstructed by King Milutin were usually located south from the Kosovo Polje – Kosovska Mitrovica line, while the Monastery of Mažići lies rather north. The structure dating from the period of King Milutin restoration was plastered and fresco painted from outside. The remains of frescoes on the western wall that were later covered by construction of narthex of the Church testify on this fact. The St George Monastery experienced its last destruction in the middle of the 18th century when Turks plundered it and since then it was abandoned.

Archaeologists excavated the Roman tomb from the third century after the Christ birth, besides the prehistorical finds. There are numerous tombs from the 11th and the 12th centuries bearing witness that even before the 12th century there was the shrine on this very spot. In the period of  construction of the Saint George Church there was the graveyard here with lied stone tombs. Some of those tombs were incorporated in the Mazici church walls during the construction of the church and after when narthex was built.

“The Monastery of St George possessed large estates covering all what could be spotted around the church. Saint George Monastery was known by its wealth what was evidenced in records of Evli  Cheleby during his visit to the place in 1664. At that time Saint George Monastery had about 500 monks. By its domes covered with lead and its wealth and the order that was performed St George Monastery enchanted the writer : “The Monastery was decorated with golden and silver cressets crosses and beautifully made lamps…On one of three-sided cross there is the Gospel. Mazici Monastery is ornamented with various gems that lights as candlestick and is more than 50 thousands grouches worth. In the monastery of Saint George there is the cell that I wanted so passionately to enter and look around but it was forbidden to me by the young monk”.

The Medieval Hospital found

 Saint George Monastery had Hospital ! Archaeologists excavated the part of the building on the south-west side where there is the unit divided into three parts by bricks of which one was large and two smaller where only one bad can be put. The large unit could have served for medical interventions. Parts of plaster from those wall were found with inscribed prayers written with sharp objects : God Help ! As the evidence of hospital on that specific place. The part of Mazici hospital was examined which fall a part after excavations. The Medieval surgeon instruments used by doctors, most probably monks who performed complex surgical interventions of that time were found. Some of those instruments are rarity when they are observed by the European practice. The instrument for taking out various objects from wounds /metal, wooden/ was found but it also could have been used for opening sculls and interventions on brain /this is the particular largest object. Only two such instruments are kept in European Museums. The scalpel for cutting large bones was found and the kind of frame for glasses with visible parts where glass was put as well what is specially interesting. That fact documents the doctors used magnifying glasses in order to observe places where wounds were but also as kind of curing vision. In this part of hospital two lighters from the 13th and the 14th centuries were found that were made of marble from Studenica. Those lighters have been probably used from the therapies. Close to the hospital one scull was discovered on which surgical interventions traces are visible. The bone on that scull started to heal after intervention and the ill man died just after the particular intervention. Establishment of Hospital is regarded as the foundation of Saint Sava. Thirteen stone balls were excavated about 20 years ago in Pribojska Banja Spa in the villages of Mazici, Kalafati, Čelice, Kratovo and Sastavci. The largest stone ball is found in the Mazici village nearby the Monastery of Saint George. This stone ball weights over 17 tons and has the regular circle shape which is as scholars believe outcome of passing the stone ball through the atmosphere and hitting the ground.

There is thesis that it is the matter of meteorites but their origin is to be determined. It is possible that those meteorites were created above the magma fire places during the volcano eruption so they might not be of cosmic origin. The latest chemical analysis are to determine structure of each of them. Besides the stone balls it is said that similar balls were discovered in the vicinity of other monasteries. The patron saint of Saint George Monastery Mazici is Saint George Đurđic which is celebrated on the 16th November. Priest comes to the Monastery Church once a month. The Mazici Church key is kept by the nearby household and one of family members opens the church when visitors ask for visit to the Church.

The Monastery of Saint George is located in the most beautiful part of the vast steep picturesque area on the left bank of Lim River that is artificial lake full of terraces where the settlement of Mazici is set. It is about 14 km north-west of Priboj. From the road Prijepolje – Priboj /you can also approach from Kokin Brod/ you turn to Mazici and drive across the Dam of Limska elektrana /Lim Hydro-power plants/ to get to Mazici Monastery after 4 km. Taking that good mountainous paved road you turn after 1,5 km of steep road made of stone and cobble stone. When you get to the stream you should turn left towards the Mazici Monastery. It is assumed that the particular part of 1.5 km of road you come over the height level difference of 300 meters. On some parts of that road there is escalation of 30 % so driving without properly adjusted brakes is NOT RECOMMENDED. Take care that you drive smoothly the entire road and on its peak because further drive along the rolling cobble stone might cause you problem.

You can get to Mažići Monastery either on foot or by terrain vehicle. After touring and sightseeing of the Monastery of Saint George in Mažici village your minds move towards children who passes this road every day on their way to school as well as about others who go along those hardly accessible places. The Monastery of St George in Mažići was almost two centuries in ruins to be restored and rebuilt and consecrated in 2007. The present day Church has the appearance from the middle of the 13th century when it was rebuilt by King Milutin.