Wednesday, January 11, 2012


     Gornjak Monastery is situated not far from Petrovac in an interesting Gorge of Mlava River called Zdrelo (literally "Pharynx"). All through the Gorge there is evidence of past times: a solid fortress was here once blocking the road between two hills with its wall. Later the Gorge become known for its hermits whose cells within the caves as well as the remains of Medieval churches can bee seen in several places, among which the best known locality is called Mitropolija. Gornjak Monastery is situated within amazing scenery of Eastern Serbia leaning on the vertical rock with its north side. Gornjak Monastery once called Zdrelo is an endowment of Prince Lazar built between 1378 and 1381 with the spiritual help of monk Grigorije from Sinai Peninsula.

     Once a rich monastery endowed with 240 villages, Gornjak Monastery sank to obscurity in the Turkish times. In the 18th century Gornjak Monastery is in ruins and immediately after the reconstruction it was burnt down again in 1788. In the First World War Gornjak Monastery was totally pillaged by the occupying Bulgarians while in the Second War it was set ablaze by the Germans who sent the abbot to the concentration camp never to return. Since 1968 Gornjak Monastery has been nunnery.

     Although Gornjak Monastery was built on the Medieval trefoil groundplan, the present day church construction dates back mostly from the 18th century while the belfry and the porch are from the 19th century. The fresco-paintings were painted in 1847 and are of considerable quality. In the small cave chapel above the main church, the relics of the monastery's co-founder St. Grigorije are kept. Relics of Saint Gregort - Saint Grigorije are very respected by local population thatconsider them miracle and healing. Visitors to Gornjak Monastery the uniquely spiritual place can also see here fragments of the 14th century frescoes.