Krka Monastery

Top choice in Krka National Park

This isn't just the most important Serbian Orthodox monastery in Croatia; it's one of the faith's most important sites full stop. Featuring a unique combination of Byzantine and Mediterranean architecture, it occupies a peaceful position above the river and a small lake. From mid-June to mid-October a national-park guide is at hand to show you around. At other times you're welcome to visit the church and wander the lakeside path.

Dedicated to the Archangel Michael, the monastery was founded in 1345 by Jelena Šubić, the wife of a local Croatian noble and half-sister to Emperor Dušan of Serbia. However, its Christian origins are much older than that. Beneath the complex in a natural cave system are catacombs bearing early Christian graffiti, possibly from the 1st century. Local lore has it that this hidden church was visited by St Titus and possibly even St Paul. The guided tours only visit a small section of cave, where the graffiti and human bones can be seen; the cave system continues for at least 100m and possibly for a couple of kilometres.

During the war of the 1990s, the monastery's substantial treasury – including priceless manuscripts and religious paraphernalia – was moved to Belgrade for safekeeping. A new museum has been constructed to display the items. The monastery itself was protected during the fighting by the UN. The complex is also home to the Serbian Orthodox church's oldest seminary. It reopened in 2001 and now has 50 theological students.

From Roški Slap, boats to Krka Monastery leave by arrangement (2½ hours, April to October only).