The Mileseva monastery

The Mileseva monastery was founded between 1234 and 1236 by Serbian King Vladislav. The monastery is situated in a valley of the Mileseva river, near Prijepolje, Serbia.
The first group of frescoes were produced in the 1230s. These thirteenth century frescoes may be considered to be the supreme achievement of all the paintings in Europe of that time. In 1459, the Turks set the monastery on fire, but it was soon restored.
The Monastery was also famous as a printing centre at the time of the Turkish occupation. In the first half of the sixteenth century, the first books were produced there. One of the oldest schools also existed in the monastery.
In later times, after several Turkish demolitions, a new restoration was undertaken in 1863, when the church considerably changed in appearance. In the domes and around several other places, frescoes had large pieces missing. Many of the figures’ eyes had been gouged or obliterated by the Turks. The church’s most famous fresco is the White Angel.

The Byzantine art style lasted from the 4th to the 15th century. It began in Greece and spread to the rest of Europe. Thousand years old Serbian monasteries carry some of the most majestic iconographic masterpieces in the fresco technique. Fresco is a mural painting executed upon freshly laid lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the pigment and with the setting of the plaster, the painting becomes an integral part of the wall.

The White Angel is part of a bigger art composition, “Mironosice at the tomb of Christ”. Often during the reconstruction of the monastery it was plastered over and made into a new fresco. It was in the  first half of the twentieth century when that plaster fell off and revealed the untouched face of the White Angel. This fresco has become so famous that even in 1963 the first satellite broadcast signal from Europe to America included the image of the White Angel. In this way, Europe presented itself to America. Some time later a second signal with the same content was sent into space to whomever or whatever was out there. So far this signal has not been answered.The White Angel has been recently adopted as the emblem of  the United Nations.

Over the centuries different religion occupations (mostly Turks) damaged many Serbian monasteries.
Today, inside of the Mileseva monastery, visitors are not allowed even to take pictures.

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