An ode to an angel Queen
A memory to a holy Queen
Gradac, the monastery on the Ibar river is the endowment of Queen Helen of Anjou, the wife of the convent, King Uros the first. It was built around 1270 and it is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin. The monastery is situated in the area of Stara Raška, on the slopes of Golija mountain. The Queen founded the first women’s school here, and today Gradac is the female monastery, consisted of 15 female monks and one man only, a monastic priest.
Besides the large Church of the Virgin Mary, this complex also houses a smaller church of St. Nicholas.
The influence of the Queen’s french origins are noticeable in the architecture of the complex, so the dominantly Raška style is mixed with Gothic and Byzantine. Devastated by the Turks, the church can see a silver-gray lead line describing how little remains of this shrine after the devastation. The monastery was abandoned after the collapse of the Serbian medieval state. It was partially rebuilt in the sixteenth century, but it was not until 1963 to 1975 that the main church was completely reconstructed. Partly preserved murals speak the language of history and the Iconostas, which originates from the time when Monastery was built is still preserved. The monastery can praise talented nuns who paint a beautiful icon and run the painting workshops.
For tourist importance of the monastery is the proximity of the Kopaonik tourist center and Josanička Spa, but also the other significant monasteries.
After the death of his beloved wife, King Uroš the first ordered that the entire valley of the Ibar River be planted with fragrant lilacs, resembles on her homeland – Provence in France. Due to great love, the area is called The valley of lilacs.
So when May comes, and the lilac blooms, the memories on the Queen of Anjou come to life, streamed in the glory manifestation “The Days Of The Queen Helen of Anjou”. With numerous cultural and art events, organized in the port, manifestation gives the ode to the tradition, history, and religion and to the unforgettable Queen, who eternally rests in this holy place.