Treskavec Monastery

Treskavec Monastery is situated at the altitude of 1300 meters, about 10 km away from town of Prilep, under the Zlatovrv peak /1422 meters/, in a striking remote mountainous landscape of karst massif from wherespreads a stunning view of the Pelagonia Valley and towns of Prilep, Bitola and Kruševo. It is said that Treskavec Monastery is one of the most inaccessible and hidden monasteries in Macedonia, since it can be reached only on foot, along the winding narrow pathway passing by strange rock formations. We find Treskavac Monastery one of the most beautiful monasteries in the Balkans and a significant monastic and spiritual center of Ohrid Archbishopric. From Treskavac Monastery visitors can observe the most stunning sunset in Macedonia, dominating the beautiful and fertile  Pelagonija Plain.

The complex of Treskavec Monastery consists of the single-nave church with a central dome and the three-sided eastern altar apse, dedicated to “Assumption of the Holy Mother”, the monastery dormitory and the dining room. It is assumed that the Treskavec Monastery was built in the 12th or the 13th century on the remnants of an early-Christian temple, according to the written inscription at the entrance, and had been thoroughly renovated and richly donated in the 14th century by the King Milutin. Prior the reconstruction by King Milutin it was only a tiny church dedicated to the Holy Virgin Milkprofferer (Nurturer). The Byzantine Tsar Michael IX Palaiologos is mentioned on the inscription over the western gate. The Serbian King Dušan became donor of the Treskavac Monastery after his victory against the Byzantine Empire in 1334 when he richly donated the monastery with estates of some 20 surrounding villages among were villages of Trnovce and Jelensce, and watermills and stables for cattle. In the middle of the 16th century the Treskavec Monastery was again reconstructed by the rich landlord from Kratovo, Dimitrije Pepic.

Treskavac Monastery was rebuilt again during the Ottoman rule in this region in the architectural traditions developed under the influence of the Byzantine school. Treskavac Monastery’s façade is made from faded red bricks, with ornamental external niches and uneven roof. The Treskavac monastic Church was richly fresco-painted in the 14th and the 15th century. Frescoes dating from the 14th century in the exo-narthex of the Assumption of the Holy Mother Church of Treskavac Monastery were completed in three periods : the oldest frescoes, whose donor was King Dušan, date from 1334-1343, depicting the church Calendar, while frescoes of the former facade of the later added chapel, that represent founder’s composition and those painted on the facade of the exo narthex date from the middle of the 15th century. Greek master painters used to accomplish themes and tendencies of the imperial paintings have created new manners, contrary to the ancient comparisons about similarities between the celestial and the terrestrial courts. The Christ as the Emperor of all Emperors – rex regnanticum – dressed in the modern costume of Basileus is depicted in the north-eastern calotte. The nine angelic choirs in court dresses are painted around the central medallion in the circle, while the crowned Holy Virgin stands before the empty throne.

Owing to the cult of the Mother of God of Treskavac Monastery, it has been since the Medieval times a pilgrimage center visited by faithful people, and members of the royal family as well, such as the young King Uroš, son of Emperor Dušan. The neighboring small cave church which has been recently registered in the immediate vicinity of the Treskavac Monastery and the remains of a hermitage imply some forms of eremite life. Treskavac Monastery experienced most prosperous period during the reign of King Dusan when it possessed large estate and 20 surrounding villages.

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