Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Petrova Church), Novi Pazar

The Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, also known as Petrova Crkva (Peter’s Church) is among the oldest mediaeval religious properties in Serbia. Historical sources do not tell us when it came to be, but they do mention it as an episcopal see as early as the 10th century. It is located on the site of an early Christian structure raised in the 6th century, close to Novi Pazar.

This church has particular importance for Serbian history as key events from the life of Stefan Nemanja are connected with it: his baptism, the council against the Bogomils and the transfer of his rule to son Stefan. The likelihood that Peter’s Church has functioned as a Christian place of worship for more than ten centuries is affirmed by the numerous alterations carried out on the structure and frescoes.

Three layers of preserved painting fragments are dated according to their stylistic characteristics to the 9th-10th centuries, the late 12th and the last decade of the 13th century. The continued respect for this ancient cult site in the last two centuries is evidenced by the necropolis with its large number of imposing tomb memorials.

In 1979 the church was entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Stari Ras and Sopoćani complex.