Crna Reka Monastery

Top choice in Serbia

Secluded 13th-century Crna Reka (meaning 'black river') has a unique setting among Serbian monasteries: it's built into caves, seemingly hanging off a steep cliff above the abyss of a sinking river. Staircases connect the cells within the four-level cave system. Protected by forested mountains and accessed via a narrow wooden footbridge, the monastery started as a hermitage and served as a refuge during Ottoman times. The frescoes inside the tiny cave church are the work of famous 16th-century painter Longin.

Crna Reka is located near Ribariće vilage, just off the Ibar highway 30km south of Novi Pazar. Frequent buses from Novi Pazar stop at the village. Cross the bridge over Gazivode lake, then follow the paved road that leads through the forest to the monastery (it's about 3km uphill).

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