Piva Monastery

Northern Montenegro

Small Piva Monastery has an intriguing history: originally constructed between 1573 and 1586, it was the only Serbian Orthodox monastery to be built during the Ottoman occupation (the Grand Vizier was a relative of Piva's founder; connections have always been everything in Montenegro). It hulked by the Piva River until the late 1960s when plans for the Mratinje Dam forced it to be moved – brick by brick, fresco fragment by fresco fragment – over 12 years to its current location near Gorankso village.

The Muslim Vizier was given the unusual honour of featuring in one of the church’s many magnificent frescoes with his head still attached to his body. Inside the church, note the internal door leading into the nave, which is beautifully inlaid with stars, trees and geometric patterns.