For centuries the territory of Kosovo was the centre of Serbian national and Church life. It remained so even after all the destruction by the conquerors, for on it are found the remains of the most important accomplishments of Serbian church architecture, art, and literature. These Kosovo remnants are lodged in the midst of the remaining faithful of the Kosovo region.
The magnitude of Kosovo reverberates across the centuries. It has survived 609 years and throughout the succeeding generations Kosovo has become the inspiration of an entire nation. And through its grandeur and its religious example it has influenced other nations to seek freedom.
Kosovo permanently changed the face of Europe and altered history.
Kosovo, 100 years before Columbus sailed for the New World, was a statement for religious freedom and the belief that no man had a right to rule another. Rather than to consent to become slaves to tyranny, the Serbs were willing to lay down their lives for their religious belief. Seldom in history have we witnessed such a commitment. The Serbs on the Kosovo Field, 600 years ago*, not only paid with the staggering loss of 77,000 lives, but the Serbian nation suffered 500 years of Ottoman oppression.
Through the centuries, Serbian sacrifice and Kosovo have become synonymous...and then NATO came.
DESTROYED AND DESECRATED CHRISTIAN ORTHODOX SHRINES IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
The Holy Trinity Monastery (Musutiste, Suva Reka) built in the 14th century. In the valuable collection of manuscripts from 14th to 18th century there were a Book of Commemoration from 1465 and a hand-written Gospel from the 14th century.
The monastery also had a collection of icons from the 19th century.
In the second half of June 1999, after the German KFOR troops were deployed in the area, Monastery was dynamited and completely destroyed.
The Holy Trinity Monastery before the Destruction.
Zociste Monastery and the Church of the Holy Healers Cosmas and Damian was built in 14th century. Frescoes belonged to the 12th - 14th century monumental style of painting. Also, the monastery had a valiable collection of icons, books and liturgical vessels from 15th century.
This complex, under the protection of German KFOR troops was completely destroyed by explosives in September 1999.
Zociste Monastery before the destruction.
The Church of the Holy Virgin (Musutiste, Suva Reka) built in 1315. The frescoes of the Musutiste, painted between 1316 and 1320, famed for their plasticity and the saints' typology, were known as the best examples of Serbian art.
After the arrival of the German KFOR troops, the church was completely destroyed by explosive in early June 1999.
The Church of the Holy Virgin in Musutiste Before the Destruction.
St. Mark's of Korusa Monastery (Korusa, near Prizren) was built in 1467 with a single-nave, a rectangular foundation and preserved fragment of the original, ancient fresco.
After the arrival of the German KFOR troops, the monastery was completely destroyed by explosive.
The Monastery Church of St Mark Before Destruction.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral (Djakovica) on this site was built as a mausoleum for all killed, murdered and frozen soldiers in the wars of 1912-1918. It was destroyed by Albanian communists in 1949. Fifty years after, the same happened to a new shrine, which was completely destroyed on 24/25 July 1999. Djakovica is under the occupation of Italian KFOR troops.
The Cathedral was built on the site of the previous Orthodox Cathedral destroyed
by the Albanian led communist authorities after the WW2.
Map of Kosovo region showing the location of Serbian Churches and Monasteries.
Some of the significant monasteries and Serbian churches in the Kosovo region are shown. Approximately 80 preserved churches built prior to 1459 are not shown. Approximately 60 ruins prior to 1459 are not shown. Approximately 30 churches built after 1459 are not shown.
* Six hundred years ago, on St. Vitus Day, Christian army of Serbian Prince Lazar and Islamic conquerors under Turkish Sultan Murat fought a great battle on the plain of Kosovo. Serbs were defending themselves and Christian Europe from the Ottoman invasion, but at Kosovo they were defeated. Prince Lazar and the cream of the Serbian nobility all died heroically.