Mileševa

The Mileševa monastery, with its Church of the Ascension of Christ, is located in the Mileševa river valley, 5 km east of Prijepolje. It was built in the 1230s by King Vladislav Nemanjić, grandson of Nemanja and son of Stefan Prvovenčani.

Mileševa is one of the most important centres of spirituality and art of the Serbian people. The monastery gained widespread popularity when the relics of St Sava were transferred there from Trnovo in 1236. In 1595 the Turks took the bones to Belgrade and burnt them in Vračar. A press operated in the monastery in the 16th century, in which liturgical books were printed.

The Church of the Ascension is of the Raška School, with a single-nave floor plan, three-sided altar space, a dome raised where the choir transept intersects the nave, and a narthex. The external narthex, and the chapels of St George and St Dimitrije which flank it, was built in around 1236.

Until 1228, the naos and narthex boasted frescoes of exceptional beauty. The fresco of the White Angel on the Grave of Christ is a masterpiece of 13th century Serbian and European art.