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The Medieval Monuments in Kosovo are a World Heritage Site consisting of four Serbian Orthodox Christian churches and monasteries which represent the fusion of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the western Romanesque ecclesiastical architecture to form the Palaiologian Renaissance style. The construction was founded by members of Nemanjić dynasty, the most important dynasty of Serbia in the Middle Ages. The sites are located in the disputed territory of Kosovo.

Medieval Monuments in Kosovo
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Srednjovekovni spomenici nа kosovu.jpg
Clockwise from top left: Church of Patriarchal Monastery of Peć, Our Lady of Ljeviš, Church of Visoki Dečani, a window at Visoki Dečani, Church of Gračanica, fresco of Christ at Our Lady of Ljeviš
LocationKosovo, Serbia
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iii), (iv)
Inscription2004 (28th Session)
Area2.8802 ha (7.117 acres)
Buffer zone115.3879 ha (285.130 acres)
Coordinates42°39′40″N 20°15′56″E / 42.66111°N 20.26556°E / 42.66111; 20.26556Coordinates: 42°39′40″N 20°15′56″E / 42.66111°N 20.26556°E / 42.66111; 20.26556
Medieval Monuments in Kosovo is located in Kosovo
Medieval Monuments in Kosovo
Location of Medieval Monuments in Kosovo in Kosovo
Medieval Monuments in Kosovo is located in Serbia
Medieval Monuments in Kosovo
Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Serbia)

In 2004, UNESCO recognized the Dečani monastery for its outstanding universal value. Two years later, the site of patrimony was extended as a serial nomination, to include three other religious monuments: Patriarchal Monastery of Peć, Our Lady of Ljeviš and Gračanica monastery.

In 2006 the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to difficulties in its management and conservation stemming from the region's political instability.[1]

UNESCO controversyEdit

There is an ongoing controversy over Kosovo's bid to join the UNESCO, which would result in the sites being listed as part of Kosovo and not Serbia.[2] These monuments have come under attack, especially during the ethnic violence in 2004, during Kosovo's UNMIK rule, when the Our Lady of Ljeviš was heavily damaged.[3][4][5][6] In October 2015 Kosovo was recommended for membership by the UNESCO Executive Board. The bid for membership was voted at the UNESCO General Conference in November 2015.[7]

Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia, posted at his YouTube channel a video about the destruction of churches and attacks on monuments.[8]

Isa Mustafa, Prime Minister of Kosovo stressed "the positive campaign that Kosovo is leading" for its UNESCO bid. He condemned the Serbian leadership for their "string of unimaginable attacks that have nothing to do with the truth." Mr. Mustafa also underscored that the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo will continue to enjoy "the protection and retain[s] rights, privileges and immunity" and that Kosovo had given "international guarantees" for that.[9]

UNESCO has not accepted Kosovo as a member, the proposal failed to gain a two-thirds majority at the organization's General Conference in Paris on November 9, 2015.[10][11] One of primary reasons for this rejection of Albanian request[12][13][14] is 2004 unrest in Kosovo, when 35 Orthodox churches were desecrated, damaged or destroyed,[15][16] including Our Lady of Ljeviš which is a World Heritage Site.[17][18] The church is subject to constant looting - even of its construction material, specifically valuable lead has repeatedly been stolen from the roof.[19]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ World Heritage Committee puts Medieval Monuments in Kosovo on Danger List and extends site in Andorra, ending this year’s inscriptions, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, July 13, 2006. Accessed April 4, 2008.
  2. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo". UNESCO. 2005.
  4. ^ "Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo" (PDF). UNESCO. 2005. pp. 7, 8.
  5. ^ "The Violence: Ethnic Albanian Attacks on Serbs and Roma". Human Rights Watch. July 2004.
  6. ^ "Reconstruction Implementation Commission for Serbian Orthodox Religious Sites in Kosovo". Council of Europe. 2005.
  7. ^ "Kosovo Moves Closer To UNESCO Membership".
  8. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Kryeministri Isa Mustafa: Kosova e meriton të bëhet pjesë e UNESCO-s".
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^'s+Admission+to+UNESCO
  14. ^
  16. ^ "Six years since March violence in Kosovo". B92. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  17. ^ For details and photos see here:
  18. ^ and here: "Around 900 houses and 35 churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church were set on fire, including mediaeval holy sites such as the Church of Our Lady of Ljevis in Prizren which dates back to the 14th century."
  19. ^ See the link: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2015-11-09. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Medieval Monuments in Kosovo at Wikimedia Commons