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Illustration - LandSerbia - Landscape painted with the hearth
The beauty it took centuries to create

Cloaked in silence, hidden among the hills and plum orchards, the monasteries and churches, invaluable heritage of timeless beauty, were created in Serbia from the 10th to the 17th century. Although by the gracefulness of their outside archictecture these churches leave an impression of smallness, it is only on entering them that you can appreciate the monumental stories of things earthly and things heavenly they can tell. The eyes of the angels, of the Virgin Mary, of the holy warriors standing their eternal watch, of princes and princesses, of kings and queens, focus on you from the frescoes and icons...

One of the founders of these structures, King Milutin, left behind him forty years of reign and the same number of churches.

What will the towers of Manasija, the domes of Ravanica, the rosettes of Lazarica or the portals of Studenica whisper to you? What were the red facades of Zica the witnesses to? What does the sophistication of Gracanica consist of? What about the strength of Visoki Decani, the marble colossus of medieval architecture? What are the messages sent to you by the treasures of Krusedol and Hopovo.

Perhaps that the answers to all these questions can be found in the words of the French poet, Alphonse Lamartine, who said that the history of the Serbs should be sung, not written about.

Long ago, the oldest monument of Serb literacy, The Miroslav Gospel (written in the 12th century), together with other relics, found its way to the Serb monastery of Chilandrion, on Mount Athos in Greece. Later, it was returned to the fatherland, as a gift to the King Aleksandar Obrenovic of Serbia. In the horrors of World War I, it was taken all the way to Corfu in the saddle-bags of the Serb army.

The 180 pages of carefully illustrated parchment at last completed their journey and became a part of the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade. The journey of the Serb culture is not unlike this journey of the Miroslav Gospel.

This valuable manuscript set the standards for all later creations. The famous ancestor has famous offsprings: Tesla's and Pupin's ingenuity, the thought and the word of the Nobel laureate Ivo Andric, of Crnjanski and Kis. The names of the world famous painters, ballet masters of today, musical virtuosos, the choirs with box-office success everywhere in the world, theater and movie magicians...


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