Monastery Manasija, a place for missionaries in South Europe

Monastery Manasija is located in the vicinity of Despotovac. It is surrounded by forests with the canyon of the river Resava. This monastery functioned as a fortress for several centuries because of its walls and fortress. It was raised by despot Stefan Lazarevic, the son of King Lazar, in the 13th century. About 140 kilometers away from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The monastery has strong walls within which there are eleven high towers. Eight of them have the shape of a rectangle, and two have a hexagonal base. Only the largest, the Despot’s Tower, has a quadrangular base, and its primary purpose was to be the foundation of the monastery’s defense. The Monastery Manasija was originally known as Resava.

The Monastery Manasija has been placed under the state’s protection as a cultural monument of exceptional importance due to its historical, artistic, and architectural values. It has been damaged, looted, and set on fire several times in its history. The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments has begun the renovation and restoration of the monastery, which is still ongoing. Most of the work has been completed. After entering through the thick walls, you will be greeted by the church of St. Trojice, konak, souvenir shop, old dining room, and beautiful garden with benches. A gorgeous place for missionaries and everyone who is looking for a quiet place to say a little prayer.


There is very little data about this monastery and its history. The oldest written data on the construction of this fortified monastery was noted by Constantine the Philosopher. In his writings from the 15th century, we can find the first writing about the life of despot Stefan Lazarevic.

In 1844 in the monastery of Zograf in Grece were found these history papers. Constantine’s writings are an extremely reliable, extensive, and significant source for the history of this part of Europe from the Middle ages.

The name Manasija came from the despot Stefan because of his “sweet verb” comparison with the Byzantine chronicler Constantine Manasije from the 12th century. It is mentioned in medieval chronicles and records.

This land was a part of the Ottoman empire for about five centuries. Life for Christians was difficult and bloody. There was one story when the Turks invited about two hundred Christians to Manasija in the summer of 1790 to execute them all there.

Without the possibility of regular maintenance and repair, often looted, burned, devastated, and abandoned, the monastery served the Turks as a fortress and the church as a stable. The Austrian army was not better in treatment this sacred place; they used it even as gunpowder, which once caught fire.

Nevertheless, thanks to the care of the surrounding people and individuals, these wooden monuments be preserved as intact as possible. This magnificent building has experienced days as one of the most beautiful and significant monuments of Serbian medieval culture.

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Monastery Manasija


The Manasija Monastery is located near Despotovac, which is only two kilometers away. From the exclusion from the highway Belgrade – Nis to the monastery is about 30 kilometers. The Manasija Monastery is 138 km away from Belgrade, 117 km from Nis, and about 80 km from Kragujevac. Despotovac can be reached by bus from Belgrade, and from Despotovac to Manasija you can reach on foot.

For details, you can call the bus station in Despotovac, phone +38135 611-162.

Below is a map of the road to the monastery Manasija.

Frescoes and architecture of the monastery

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Manasija is the second-largest medieval Serbian temple and the last monumental building of Moravian architecture and medieval Serbia. The main monastery church has a rectangular base, with an inscribed cross. It was built of hewn stone, which is tied with mortar.

The floor in the main church is built of a combination of stone and marble slabs, which are arranged in the shape of a mosaic. The most famous fresco from the Manasi monastery is the fresco of the Holy Warriors. Due to frequent devastation and burning, only a quarter of these frescoes have been preserved from that time.

Manasija’s painting belongs to the Moravian school, and in European terms, it is known as the Resava Renaissance. Resava school Stefan’s endowment became a center for copying books in medieval Serbia. The monastery still has a rich library and archive. Despot Stefan and one of the most talented medieval Serbian writers helped the Resava transcription school.


Manasija Monastery contact

For all necessary information, you can call on the phone: +381 35 611 290 or write an email on this email address

In the summertime, from May to the end of October the working our are: 8 am – 7 pm. In the wintertime, from November to the end of April the working hours are: 8 am – 4 pm. Ticket prices to the monastery are free.

When you are passing this part of Europe this monastery is worth visiting.

Monastery Manasija

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