KRUŠEDOL MONASTERY

Krušedol Monastery, with its church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin, is located in a valley, between the former monastery Prnjavor and the village Krušedol. It is a closed unit with the church in the middle, dormitories on all four sides and an area for economic activity located next to the monastery on the southeast side. This monastic community is rich in cultural heritage, from the architecture of buildings, to fresco painting, iconostasis, and tombs of prominent historical figures, it is a significant collection. Unlike many other monasteries whose origins are shrouded in legend, the origin and history of Krušedol are known and largely documented. The family Branković, Serbian despots, who, after the Turkish conquest of the area between the Sava and Danube, lived in Hungary, founded the Krušedol monastery (1509 -1516) as an endowment to the Church for burial purposes. The founder of the monastery was  Bishop Maksim Branković (Despot Đorđe before taking his vows as a monk), with the help of other patrons, especially Duke Jovan Njagoja Basaraba. In this memorial building the remains of those members of the Branković family whose lives were so deeply committed to the Christian faith they deserved the halo of saints were preserved. These are St. Stefan the Blind, St. Despot Jovan, The Venerable Mother Angelina and her son, Bishop Maxim. The cult of the last Serbian despot ensured that Krušedol monastery recieved, and to this day maintains, the highest rank among the Fruska Gora monasteries. Unfortunately, the relics of the saints were destroyed in 1716 when the Turks retreated in front of the Austrian army, sacking many villages and monastic communities as they fled. In the monastery are Arsenije III Čarnojević, Count Georgije Branković, Duke Stevan Šupljikac, Colonel Atanasije Rašković, Princess Ljubica Obrenović and King Milan Obrenović.
The church was built in the spirit of late Byzantine architecture, but the original appearance has not been fully preserved. The ground plan of the temple is in the form of a trefoil, the altar and choir apses are semicircular, inside and out, and vaulted with demi-calottes. The vaults of the nave are barrel-shaped. Four strong chamfered columns with rectangular cross-section support wide semicircular arches underneath the dome. The transition to the circular base of the column is done with pendentives. The drum is circular inside and eight-sided from the outside, with eight windows. The narthex is separated from the nave, and connected to it through high arches, which were later expanded after 1756, damaging and truncating the paintings. The narthex is simple, with barrel-vault, flat wall surfaces, two windows and an entrance from the west. The outer wall surfaces are simply finished, flat plastered with a low plinth. The cornice is framed by a molded frieze, ornamented with delicate vines in the Biedermeier style. The two-sided gable roof is made out of tin, and the cupola has a lantern on the top.
A high front porch, still in existence today, supported by two wide columns at the corners and a large semi-circular arch span, was added in 1745. Certain decorative accessories come from the era of classicism. The windows and entrance are decorated by stone frames with plastics combining floral and geometric motifs.
The baroque square cross-section bell tower is separated from the church, and is connected to the western part of the dormitory. The outer and inner four-storey division is highlighted by profiled cordon cornices. The roof is made of steel in the form of a pyramid, and a four-sided lantern rises from the middle.
Dormitories surround the monastery from all four sides. They are partially one-storey buildings, and partially ground–floor buildings on elevated basement. They are solidly built out of brick and mortar, with massive walls, shaped as barrel and cruciform vaults.
The monastery church is covered with frescoes: the narthex was painted in 1543 and nave, cupola and altar apse from 1545 to 1546, during the time of abbot Joaniki. On the exterior, the west facade was painted with scenes of the Last Judgment during the mid-seventeenth century. After the restoration of the church at the beginning of the XVIII century, it was re-painted with oil wall paintings. The narthex and altar were painted by Jov Vasilijević from 1750 to 1751, with the help of local artists Vasilije Ostojić, Joakim Marković, Teodor Stefanov Gologlavac and Amvosije Janković. The nave was painted in 1756, by Stefan Tenecki and associates.
Furnishings were added over its five centuries of existence. The iconostasis contains icons from the XVI to XIX century, and the oldest icon, the Deisis, dates from the 1512. The Crucifixion with associated icons and the Unsleeping Eye were painted around 1653, when ​​most of the carved plastics were made. The Throne icons are the work of  Jov Vasilijević from 1745 to 1750, and the icons on the socle date from the early XIX century. The choirs were created around 1745. The Thrones for relics of the Holy Branković family are from 1759, and the Pontiffs throne was donated and painted by Dimitrije Bačević in 1765.
Krušedol Monastery, with its architectural and historic value, multi-layered paintings, rich treasury and library, represents the most valuable complex testifying to the culture and spirituality of the Serbian people in this region.