Ras Museum Novi Pazar

Ras Museum Novi Pazar

The Museum of Ras in Novi Pazar is situated in beautifully restored building from the middle of the 19th century which was used in the past for the school and the Turkish gymnasium and now is under protection as the monument of culture. The Ras Museum in Novi Pazar is ranked among the most prominent institutions of Serbia after 50 years of its fruitful work. By its rich collections it represents the huge work on capitalization of cultural values of the region comprising the vast Sjenica-Pešter highlands, the Raška River valley, the mountains of Rogozna and Golija and the area between the towns Ras and modern Tutin, or medieval Gluhavica.

On the territory covered by the “Ras” Museum in Novi Pazar over the past several decades systematic archaeological reconnaissance has been carried out : sondage samplings were also made on several sites, especially on fortifications. The region covered by the activities of the ‘Ras’ Museum of Novi Pazar is high mountainous area of Serbia open to the northeast. A large number of settlements are located at the absolute height above sea level of over 1,000 meters. The most of fortifications of Novi Pazar and surroundings belong to Late Antiquity, or the Early Byzantine period. On Rogozna Mountain, especially in the area of the villages of Grubetici, Otesa, Vojkovici and Belanske are small volcanic cones elevated, on one of them was the Jelac fortress constructed. In the territory of Novi Pazar Municipality there are located several fortifications : Gradina in Pazarište, Gradina in Postenje, Gradina in Južac, Kulina in Rogatac, Gradina in Radalica, Gradina in Saronje, Kula in Kaludra, Gaj in Babrež and Krš in Zlatni Kamen. In the Municipality of Tutin there are Zlostup in Ostrovica, Gradovi in Saronje, Gradina in Ramoševo, Jerina’s Town on Trojan, Gradina on Hum, Djurdjevica in Djerekari, Litice in Dobrinja, and Tupi Krš in Izbeg. The fewest number of fortresses are located in the territory of Sjenica town : Velika Gradina in Vrsenica, Šarski Krš at Duga Poljana, Gradina in Tuzinje and Samograd in Grgaje. The fortifications on Pazarište and in Vrsenice were the only systematically explored, while in Postenje excavations are still in progress.

In its fifty-five years of work the Museum “Ras” Novi Pazar made remarkable achievements as it had acquired over 6000 artifacts, the most of them skillfully elaborated and arranged in collections. There are various attractive items and old crafts products exposed in Ras Museum of many craftsmen who lived and worked in Novi Pazar region, representing the life style and ethnic richness and diversity : terzije (tailors), curcije (furriers), blacksmiths, tinkers, silversmiths and copper-smiths, farriers, slipper makers, quilt makers, leather crafters, potters, goat hair-weavers, saddlers, masons, fullers, clog makers, razor makers, knife makers, rifle makers, tobacconists, but also bakers (ekmedzije), sweets makers, kebab makers, chefs (ascije), coffee house-keepers, inn-keepers.

Surely the most attractive items are the products of the terzije (tailors), who made various traditional garments for poorer and middle classes, while the well-off bought their clothes from the master tailors from Prizren, Skadar and Sarajevo. The Novi Pazar craftsmen made clothes from various fabrics: baize, velvet, silk, silk brocade, velour, atlas silk, and the clothes were decorated with srma – silver or gold plated cord embroidery, metal and silk bikma (bućma), as well as with silk threads and cords. The exhibits of misiraba, or a type of jelek (short jacket) with ‘čepken’ sleeves (slit, hanging sleeves) with rich gold embroidery and motifs, are particularly attractive items of the Ras Museum, due to excellent craftsmanship. Especially beautiful are also examples of miltan, whose name comes from the Persian word ‘nimten’, which short robes were reaching waist with long and tight sleeves, open in the lower part. They were made from baize of various colors and richly decorated by gold embroidery. The jelek was worn by females regardless of age and national or ethnic origin; it too was made of velour or baize and richly decorated by gold embroidery. The jelek of other materials, like satin or brocade was worn by the poorer classes.

The Ethnographic Department of the Ras Museum in Novi Pazar keeps a rich collection of towels, towel-scarves, kerchiefs, pillow-cases, čevra (fine kerchief with gold or silver embroidered branches in the corners), and učkuri (part of a belt). All the mentioned items were made of bought materials which were then decorated by hand in gold embroidery or embroidery in silk and cotton threads. In rural areas the towels were woven also from hemp or linen, and embroidered with colorful threads as well. Most of the mentioned items were part of the trousseau kept in special chests, ‘sehari’, which were decorated on the outside with leather and metal fittings. A consisting part of the Ethnographic Department of the Ras Museum in Novi Pazar is also the room ‘laturka’, fully appointed and decorated in Oriental style, similar to the room which could be found in all Moslem houses. The interior of such a room included the following: minderluk (long wood bench) with cushions, šiljte (woollen mat), mangal (ash-pan holding embers), dušekluk (quilt cupboard), ćilim, and various copper-wares: ibrici (ewers), sahani (plates), tablje (trays), dishes for various purposes, tepsije (baking pans), leđeni (wash basins), etc. Serbian urban room is represented by pieces of furniture: cupboard-cabinet, table and chairs, cast iron stove, chest for clothes, icons.