Novi Pazar, Sjenica

Homeland of the Clergy

Novi Pazar is located 280 kilometers from Belgrade on the road that leads to Kraljevo and Raška. The city lies at the mouth of the Jošanica and Raška rivers. It was built in the 15th century near Ras, the capital of the first Serbian state, and Stari Pazar (Trgovište).

Serbia’s most prominent medieval clergy and rules were born in this region. The influence of both Christian and Islamic culture is evident by the abundance of monuments dedicated to each religion. Izabeg Isaković laid the foundations of Novi Pazar’s eastern style architecture. The city’s original name, Jeni Bazar, is of Turkish origin. The Altun-alem mosque is easily the city’s most spectacular site. The 16th century structure features precious stones, alternating layers of stone and brick, and was initially built as a one-room building with a porch and stone minaret.

Stroll down to Novi Pazar’s town park and you will discover the remains of a 17th century Turkish fortress. The structure features two towers, barracks and a small mosque, which were added after the completion of the structure.

The 15th century Turkish bath in Novi Pazar is the oldest in Serbia. This incredible structure features eleven domes of varying sizes, alternating brick and stone walls and glass windows. There are male and female areas, as well as dressing, relaxation and massage rooms.  The bath, which has been in use for over 400 years, is located in Novopazarska Banja.

Due to its geographical position and natural beauty, the area surrounding Novi Pazar has always been densely populated. Today, Novi Pazar is mainly focused around trade. If you are looking for the perfect pair of jeans or shoes, Novi Pazar will not disappoint.


Novi Pazar also prides itself on its rich culture. The Novi Pazar School of traditional painting techniques and the annual chorus festival are two unique examples of what the city has to offer.

Raška was the capital of the first medieval Serbian state during the reign of Nemanjići. Today, it is just 8 km west of Novi Pazar near Gradina and Trgovište.

Explore beyond Raška and you will discover the remains of an incredible fortress some believe is the castle of Stefan Nemanja. The irregularly shaped structure was uncovered during an archeological dig that began some 30 years ago. The excavation is still in progress and archeologists have uncovered a monastery and church dedicated to St. Archangels below the fortress. Some believe the Gospel of Vuk was written here. There are frescoes here that date back to the 8th century and scriptures from the 16th and 17th centuries. The archeological complex includes a cemetery and a collection of churches and other structures in Pazarište. King Radoslav opened the first Serbian mint in Ras.

You will find the oldest church in Serbia just 16 km southwest of Novi Pazar. Rotonda, which is dedicated to St. Peter and Paul, was a medieval Episcopal center and gathering place for Serbian rulers. Its circular base, which features four apses, a tower and a gallery were built in the 8th and 9th centuries. Its core represents an early Christian structure and is likely from the 6th century. Several of the church’s frescoes, which date back to the 13th century, have been preserved. Below the church, there is a proto-historical tumulus, which once contained Greek vases, gold jewelry, amber and other 5th and 6th century pre-Christ treasures.

A spectacular example of medieval architecture and fresco painting, the Sopoćani Monastery is one of Serbia’s cultural treasures. It represents the best of medieval architecture and fresco art. The monastery, which lies on the Raška River 15 kilometers west of Novi Pazar is considered to be one of Serbia’s most beautiful and sacred monasteries.

King Uroš I Nemanjić (1243–1276) built Sopoćani. He spent the last year of his life at the monastery and wished to be buried here.  He entered a monastic order and changed his name to Simeon. Of the greater monastery complex, only the Church of the Holy Trinity, with its one naval basilica and Raška-style cupola has been preserved.

Painted in the second half of the 13th century, Sopoćani’s frescoes are truly impressive. Their astonishing compositions, displaying harmony and sophisticated beauty have put Sopoćani on the world map. The Ascension of the Most Holy Mother of God, which appears on the west wall of the church, was deemed the most beautiful fresco of the Middle Ages at a 1961 exhibition in Paris.

Stefan Nemanja built the 1170 Đurđevi stupovi monastery in honor of St. George, who saved him from the dungeon. It is named for its high bell-towers, which are unique to Serbian medieval architecture. The architecture, which bears a Roman influence, is marked by the gradual composition of masses around the central part of the tower. The fragments of original frescos here are well preserved.


Sjenica is a beautiful and traditional Serbian town. Sjenica lies on the Pešter plateau, which is known for cattle breeding and excellent cheese. The plateau abounds with underground rivers, including the 15 km long Borovštica River, which has an incredible 140 abysses. Just 14 km north of Sjenica you will find one of Serbia’s rare medieval bridges. The bridge crosses Uvac and is located near the village of Ursule.

Venture beyond Sjenica and you will discover the small town of Tutin. With temperatures that can reach minus 37 degrees Celsius in the winter, the town and its surroundings are known for enduring some of the coldest temperatures in Serbia. Though the air is cold, the people are quite warm and hospitable. Come and see for yourself!

When in Novi Pazar and Sjenica, we recommend:

– A visit to the Sopoćani Monastery

– A taste of Sjenica cheese and Pešter lamb

– A stroll through the old commercial part of Novi Pazar


Though much remains unknown about the history of Stari Ras, the town has been a UNSESCO world heritage site since 1979. The surrounding area abounds with beautiful monasteries, including Gradac, Studenica, Petrova crkva, Đurđevi stupovi, Crna Reka, Končul, and Sopoćani.


Tourist organization of Novi Pazar
Street 27 November 28, 36300 Novi Pazar
Tel: +381 20 338 030