Gradište Monastery

Adriatic Coast

Perched on a hill overlooking Buljarica Beach, Gradište Monastery is a tranquil collection of stone buildings facing onto a central courtyard. The monastery was first mentioned in documents from 1305, although it’s believed to date from 1116. Like many Montenegrin monasteries, it’s had a rough time over the years at the hands of invading armies and has been rebuilt several times.

The three churches on the site are renowned for their frescoes. The interior of St Nicholas’ Church (Crkva Sv Nikole) is completely covered in beautiful paintings of biblical scenes and Serbian royalty dating from 1620. The iconostasis was carved and painted by Vasilije Rafailović of the famous family of artists from Risan. Its neighbour, St Sava’s Church (Crkva Sv Save), was built in 1864 and has an iconostasis by Nicholas Aspiotis, whose work is also on display at Praskvica Monastery. Look out for a peculiar image of a saint with the head of a donkey on the bottom row of the icon immediately to the right of the iconostasis door. One school of thought suggests that it was St Christopher, who received this great blessing after he prayed to be rid of his darned good looks. On a slight elevation is the Church of the Dormition (Crkva Uspenja Bogorodice).

Taking the main road south of Petrovac, turn left after the tunnel and take the steep road up to the monastery (park at the bottom if you're not sure your car is up to it).