August 26, 2009

Monastery Krupa in Republika Srpska Krajina

In the next few post, I will share here my travel experiences during this summer. I came back with lots of pictures, sketches in my diary and informations, and slowly I'll put everything online.

Basically I started from my hometown Lugano, crossing Italy from Milano to Venezia to head down to Montenegro to spend some time at the sea with my family. But who knows us, knows also that we can not just speed down directly by the fastest way to destination, and that we like to stop and see also what's in between two destinations.

We opted for driving away from the croatian tourist paths prepared for showing to international customers, and to choose a picturesque road throught
Republika Srpska Krajina where some serbian orthodox monasteries were to be visted. One of them is Monastery Krupa in the Velebit mountain park.

Otac (Father) Gavrilo, who runs the monastery now, received us warmly and told us about life in the monastery and the situation of serbian orthodox life in these days Croatia. It seems that as long as they don't show serbian flaggs or cyrillic writing they can go on with their peaceful life.
It was not always like that!

Beneath the rocky mountain Velebit, settled in the picturesque valley where the river Krupa springs, surrounded by the mountain and the hills, Krupa lives its peaceful life.
It was built in 1317 in the time of King Milutin. As it is known, the basement of the monastery was built by the monks from the nearby monastery Bosanska Krupa. The Krupa Monastery shares the destiny with the orthodox people in this region to whom it belonged. Many times the monastery walls laid in ruins due to different irruptions and had always to be renewed.

In the time of Emperor Dusan, in 1345, the monastery was rebuilt for the first time. King Milutin, his son Stefan of Decani and his grand son Stefan Dusan issued statements wich said that they gave the land to the monastery where the monks could lead their life. Turks also confirmed this by giving a special written confirmation directly frm their Emperor from Istanbul.

During the Venetian-Turkish war, the monastery was ruined sevral times, the worst in 1502 and 1620.
The same happened in the 20th century. In 1941 Pavelic's Ustaša - Croatian Revolutionary Movement desacrated the monastery.

In 1995 it was seroiusly devastated (even if the State of Croatia made "all efforts" to protect it) in Operation "Oluja" supported by former american president Bill Clinton who "believed the Serbs could only be brought to the negotiating table if they sustained major losses on the ground".

Despite of that, the monastery was always rebuilt like it is today.

In the 1960's frescoes where found in the monastery church, that were paited by the monk of Hilandar (he painted the dining room there) Georgije Mitrofanovic between 1617-1618.
Also icons from italo-cretan school painter Jovan Apaka were found.

The interior open court of the monastery.

For more information,
here is the official site of the monastery and here the wikipedia entry (still small in the english version).

Monastery Krupa honored many well known writers of Serbian literature. Dositej Obradovic , serbian author, poet and philosopher, lived here a significant period of his life and also his coeval and compatriot teacher Vasilije.

Gerasim Zelić (1752–1838) was a Serbian Orthodox archimandrite and writer.As early as 1784, Gerasim had argued the need for Slavic rather than Greek clerics, but it was not until the 1820s that action was taken in this regard. He also spent time in Krupa Monastery as a lot of other significant writers.

Great reconstruction were done in 1855 with help of Russia, Austria and Serbia. The Austrian government however stipulated the reconstruction demanding that all the monastery's windows have to be made as gothic style lanced windows.


  1. Very interesting post Mrs, but on the next time you're going to pass through Milan a balkan lunch is a must ;)

  2. Thanks for leaving a comment Beppe! We'll catch up for a balkan rucak in Torino, ok?

  3. good job Draga!!!
    been to Ukraine and Northern Romania (Bucovina in particular)---> there are the most beautiful painted monastery in whole Romania... stunning places!!!
    Btw got loads of street shots which I hope some mag will publish... in any case, as soon I'll contact my webmaster to upload them on my photo web site's gallery.

  4. Cool dear Ms Larsen! I'cant wait to see the pictures on your site!

    With monasteries it's sometimes tricky, not in all you can feel free to make pictures and so it's not always possible to show all the beauties.....

    You'll have to tell me more about your trip!!!

  5. two pics are on my blog yet. But the rest of the reportage will be hopefully soon on my web. About monasteries I will post some shots xpecially for you on my blog. :-)

  6. Super!
    Kad zelite da dodjete samo me javite :)