Tvrdoš Monastery

Tvrdoš Monastery with the church dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin is the Serb Orthodox Medieval Monastery located near town of Trebinje in the Republika Srpska /some 5 km/. Tvrdoš Monastery is the seat of the Diocese of Herzegovina and Zahumlje. It is built on the foundations of the tiny church from the 4th century, established in the era of the Constantine the Great and his mother Helen, during the period before the Serbs adopted Christianity, what testifies on long-lasting Christian tradition in Herzegovina area. Ever since it was abandoned, it became the endowment of the Serbian King Milutin, at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. The complete restoration of the Tvrdos Monastery was carried out in 1509 by the Metropolitan of Trebinje, Visarion I. Close to the Tvrdos Monastery, in the village of Mostaci there is the old crossroad, through which led the road from the Neretva valley to the Zeta valley, via Trebinje.

Foundations of the Tvrdos Monastery church could be observed when touring the Monastery since one part of the floor is made of glass. Tvrdos Monastery with ruins of the old Monastery sits on the karstic elevation just next to the road connecting Trebinje and Ljubinje. Present day church of the Tvrdos Monastery was built around 1509 to be fresco painted in 1517 by Dubrovnik master painter Vice Lovrov. In the second half of the 16th and in the course of the 17th century Herzegovina Metropolitan clergy lived in Tvrdos Monastery. It is how the Diocese got its name. During the clashes between the Turks and the Venetians, Tvrdos Monastery was destroyed by Venetians in 1694. In the very first years of the 18th century there were some actions of reconstruction of the damaged monastery. Among most acknowledged restorers there were Metropolitan Nektarije and Abbot Isaije. As per remains of the Tvrdos Monastery and the strong surrounding walls we learn that it was well prepared for its defense against conquerors. Foundations of the old church which was three-nave basilica can be seen within the walls. Two side naves are slightly shorter than the central one which is extended with narthex towards the western part. The present day church of Tvrdos Monastery was built in 1924. Saint Vasilije Ostroski, one of the saints of the Serbian Orthodox Church spent part of his monastic life in Tvrdos Monastery.

Tvrdos Monastery is entirely surrounded with rich vineyards and widely known for its excellent wines, kept in the wine cellar and oak barrel from the 16th century. There are also renewed vineyards planted in the fertile Petrovo and Popovo polje fields. The new wine cellar with tasting room perfectly fits in the monastic environment and greets visitors keen to taste delicious Tvrdos  Monastery wines, among which the Vranac wine is widely famous.

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