Trška Church

Trška Church

The Medieval Monastery of Trška crkva Church lies in Homolje region, on the road connecting Žagubica and Petrovac na Mlavi, by the Ribari village, 4 km west of Žagubica. On this spot there was the Medieval settlement or village called Trg,  that the church got its name after.

Trška Church is the oldest religious monument in East Serbia. According to the legend, the Trška Church was built in the 9th century, but according to the preserved material remains of griffons, windows on apse and ceramic pots that were hewn near the west facade of the church. The church is dated to the 13th century, around 1274. The church was previously dedicated to Saint Nicola which was destroyed and the new church has been built in 1430, during the reign of Đurađ Branković, when it was dedicated to the Birth of the Holy Virgin, what remains until the present day. The stone plaque and another one from 1483 testify about the restoration of the Trška Church.

There are poor data on the Trška Church from the Turkish occupation. In Turkish archives from 1572 it is recorded that the Monastery of Trška Church is active and the Monastery itself with its property belongs to the Turkish sultan Haas for which it paid tribute to the Sultan of 130 “akchas”. A decade later it was recorded that the tribute was 120 “akchas”. The reason for this is not known – whether the Monastery got some privileges or its properties reduced. It is also not known when the Trška Church was damaged, but its reconstruction dates from the 1796, since it features its present appearance. After the Second WW Monastery of Trška Church was plundered. The reconstruction of Trška Church started in 1953 when the Dormitory has been built. The new Dormitory was built in 1973 which contains the Chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas.

Trška Church is one nave structure of the Raška architectural style what makes it one of the most beautiful churches of Raska style built far from the Medieval seat of the Serbian state in Stari Ras – Old Ras. Trška Church is built of sinter and feature flat and massive 1 meter thick walls. Total length of Trška Church is 24 meters while it is 7 meters wide. Foundations of Trška Church are built of blocks of sand stone. Above the central part of the church there is the circle tambour of the dome covered with lead which sits on the square footage. There are only three windows on Trška Church – two in naos and one in altar. The only one and the main entrance to Trška Church is on the west side, while the portal is executed form three massive stone blocks. Trška Church is rustically adorned with stone decoration of ornaments of braid, floral motifs and depictions of mythological beasts. Sculptures carved in stone lie on the west facade of Trška Church among which griffins with wings distinguish. One can find such griffin sculptures in Studenica and Banja and Dečani Monasteries, that are regarded the most beautiful monuments of the Raska architectural style. In front clutches of the northern griffin there is the head of ram, while in his hind clutches he is holding the head of a man.The southern griffin holds the head of angels, that represent the Holy Evangelists Lucas and Mateus. The space of Trška Church is divided into the inner narthex, naos and altar. Between the narthex and the central part of the church there is the nicely carved portal. Floor both of narthex and the naos is made of stone. The dome sits on four pillars, while its tambour has the elliptic shape – like in the Saint George Pillars Monastery – with the axis in direction north-south. Pillars are mutually connected with broken Gothic arch. The eastern pillars are connected with metal rod which looks like a beam, holding spotlights that light up the interior of the dome. Icons of the Christ and the Holy Mother of God that come from the old iconostasis made of oak and are relatively of less artistic value sit on the western wall of the narthex. Trška Church is proclaimed the significant historical monument of Serbia. Trška Church is an active nunnery, about which nuns look after, along with their prayers and worship.