Colorful and rich is our Balkan rug! Bits of it are Bulgarian neighbor countries, with which long ago, we lived in one territory. Traces of unity and spiritual threads bind us today. “Serbia – Known and Unknown” is the name of the newest section of the magazine “Rug”, which will introduce our readers to lesser-known facts of our common history, cultural heritage and modern life of both countries.

Somewhere in the folds of our glorious historical past, stands Constantine Kostenechki, who supposedly was born about 1380 in Kostenets. He studied in the Bachkovo monastery at Andronicus, a disciple and follower of Patriarch Evtimii and his literary school. As of 1410, Konstantin Kostenechki settled in Serbia at the land of despot* Stefan Lazarevic, where he found refuge and welcome in the courtyard of the Serbian ruler, who appointed him as a teacher. As a head of the Manasseh monastery, he became the founder of Resavska literary school, which develops and protects the principles of Bulgarian medieval literature at the Moravian district, trying to impose a Middleage Bulgarian literary norm as official in the area of despot Lazarevic. Because of its erudition and life experience, Konstantin Kostenechki receives a lifetime recognition as Philosopher – a name that is famous in Serbia today. He participates in a number of diplomatic missions to various Eastern rulers,including Tamerlane, Bayezid I and Mehmed I. For the implementation of his missions the knowledge of Serbian, Greek, Turkish and Russian was an asset, along with Bulgarian as well as his profound knowledge of history, geography, theology, logic and rhetoric.

Even today the Serbian state has preserved the places where the Bulgarian bookman lived and worked. The Manasseh monastery is situated at the river Resava. The monastery is located on the territory of Pomoravlje district, which is in the central part of Serbia. Founded by Despot Stefan Lazarevic between 1407 and 1418, even today it respects the visitors with fortified walls that surround it, along with eleven defense towers.

The most famous among them is the Despotov tower. The remains of the building of the Moravian literary school, the monastery complex with the church “Holy Trinity”, the cookhouse, as well as old buildings with cells for the monks are also preserved. The frescoes, which date from the end of the XIV century, are typical for the late paleological renaissance. The image of Manasseh is exclusively painted. He is contemplative, with enlightened face – similar to the bliss that brings closeness of the enlightened to God. The scenes with the adoption of Communion of the Apostles, the miracles of Christ, worshiping the Lamb, the Assumption, the temple of God and others captivate the viewer with its deep sensuality and realism. The frescoes of Manasseh, created shortly before Sistine Chapel, at a time when the West was resurrected by the Renaissance, are remarkable monuments of medieval art. With a turnoff, just 30 km from the highway Nis-Belgrade, the monastery takes the visitor in the chambers of a glorious and distant era.

The upper reaches of Resava is known for its many caves – Resavska cave, Sokolitsa, Crystal Cave and others. The river has carved a beautiful gorge with a length of 25 km and a depth of 400 m, among which is murmuring and descends a 25 meter waterfall in Dolnomoravsky valley in Svilajnac. The water lures with its cool freshness, gushing playfully and constantly whisper legends of old times and love between people of the two nations.

For you the story is told by:
Ivana Milicevic and
MEng. Ginka Stoeva, PhD

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