Crna Reka Monastery – Ribariće, Serbia - Atlas Obscura

Crna Reka Monastery

Ribariće, Serbia

This fresco-covered medieval monastery hangs from the side of a steep cliff. 

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Crna Reka Monastery (meaning “Black River”) is often considered a work of exquisite construction and creativity. The church and the monks’ cells seem to hang from the rock, though they’re actually built into cliffside caves.

The 13th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery is situated in the Crna Reka river canyon.  A narrow wooden footbridge connects the monastery to the earth below. It’s assumed the bridge was once movable, which would have made it nearly impossible to approach or attack the monastery from the ground. 

Crna Reka Monastery monastery includes a church in a cave, which was dedicated to Archangel Michael and covered with frescoes from the 16th century. The monastery is also home to the holy relics of Saint Peter of Koriša, a famous Serbian hermit who lived in the village near Prizren. Today, numerous pilgrims still come to the monastery to seek healing and spiritual consolidation from this saint. In the 15th century, the sanctuary was home to a famous hesychast named St. Ioanichios.

Know Before You Go

Crna Reka is located near Ribariće village, just off the Ibar highway 30 kilometers south of Novi Pazar. Frequent buses from Novi Pazar stop at the village. Cross the bridge over Gazivode lake, then follow the paved road that leads through the forest to the monastery (it's about three kilometers uphill). The monastery is a religious site and visitors are expected to follow Orthodox customs. Photography is only allowed in certain areas.

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