The monasteries of Serbia built during the Middle Ages testify to the rise and fall of the Serbian Empire and state. They were erected by the rulers in honor of the saints and as their magnificent endowments in which they were both crowned and buried. Some of the most beautiful monastery complexes were built by the rulers of medieval Serbia from the Nemanjić dynasty. These are Studenica, Zica, Manasija, Mileseva, Ravanica, Pec Patriarchate, Decani, Sopocani… The monasteries of Serbia are characterized by great stylistic diversity, the beauty of frescoes, rich and representative frescoes and icons. They were built under the influence of Byzantine architecture, Romanesque, Baroque, as well as the characteristic Raska and Moravian styles. The frescoes in the monasteries depicted the lives of the saints and founders of these endowments. One of the most famous is the White Angel, part of the composition from the Church of the Ascension of Christ in the Mileseva Monastery, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This fresco was sent into space as a representative of the culture of the inhabitants of the planet Earth. The Studenica Monastery, founded by Stefan Nemanja in the 12th century, is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Serbia. Studenica is considered the most important monument of the Raska school of architecture. One of the specifics of the Studenica monastery is that since the monastic community was founded in the 12th century, it has not interrupted its spiritual life at any time. Zica Monastery bears a crown of historical significance. It was built by Stefan Prvovenčani, the first crowned Serbian king. The red color of the monastery sets it apart from the others. There are more than 200 monasteries in Serbia, 54 of which have been declared cultural monuments, and some medieval Serbian shrines are protected internationally. In the Middle Ages, monasteries and churches were centers of cultural and spiritual activity, and Serbian monasteries were also important centers of education and culture. In the most difficult times, and also today, Serbian monasteries are the guardians of the national identity of the Serbian people.
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