Bald Jesus Fresco – Rsovci, Serbia - Atlas Obscura
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Bald Jesus Fresco

St. Peter and Paul in Rsovci
Rsovci, Serbia

This fresco inside a Serbian cave church has been a source of disagreement. 

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In a small village in the Balkan Mountains there is a church with a peculiar fresco. The church of St. Peter and Paul in Rsovci is home to “Jesus the Bridegroom,” a depiction of Jesus that is notable for his bald head.

There is some disagreement about the origin of this fresco. Some claim that it was painted in the 13th century by an experienced artist who had traveled from Sinai, which is a source of old painting styles and techniques. But many of the inhabitants of the Rsovci village claim that the fresco is the work of the people seeking for God’s help during hard times.

The fresco is located on the northern wall of the church, which is itself remarkable. Built inside a cave, the walls have a glassy surface that results from water draining from the church ceiling. Many people believe that the water is healing. Until recently, the church was in disrepair, but recent work has been done to restore the church. Since 1981, the church has been protected as a national cultural heritage site by the Republic of Serbia as a national cultural heritage site.

Know Before You Go

Rsovci is located about 13 miles (22 km) from Pirot, Serbia. The fresco can be found inside the Church of St. Peter and Paul, which is built into a cave on Kalik Hill.