While strolling around Kablar, one will notice the cross that sticks out of a cave. This is where the Savinje church is, dedicated to St Sava, Serbian prince and Orthodox monk, because it is believed that this was one of his hiding places. It’s a small church of only 10 square meters, that is so steep that no cattle can climb up. That is why monks took up all the material for building the small church by themselves. There are still Orthodox services held here on St Sava religious holidays, and monks and worshipers are still climbing up.

Ovčar-Kablar Gorge gave refuge to numerous medieval Orthodox temples and so, there are 10 monasteries and 2 holy places to be seen (Savinje being one of latter). It is believed that monks were escaping the Ottomans, trying to find a safe place for their relics, and that is how this Serbian Mount Athos came to life. All the monasteries were established in somewhat remote spots on mountain slopes.

Manastir Blagoveštenje

Blagoveštenje monastery

Blagoveštenje and Nikolje monastery, to name a couple, are easy to reach and visit. Blagoveštenje was built in 1602 and its fresco painted in the first half of the 17th century. The monastery is renowned for the 1602 Virgin fresco that is believed to do miracles. The other monastery – Nikolje lies on the bank of the river with Serbian ruler Miloš Obrenović’s house within its complex. You can even see the exact windows of the Obrenović’s chambers. He spent time here while escaping the Ottomans.

The monastery that looks like emerging from one of the hills surrounded by West Morava curving flow is called Jovanje. This landscape makes the hill look like a peninsula. It is called Pejica and it’s also known as Serbian Bled, referring to the famous lake in Slovenia.

Names of other monasteries in the gorge are Ilinje, Preobraženje, Uspenje, Vavedenje, Vaznesenje, Svete Trojice and Sretenje.