Visoki Decani

On the way home from Junik, MD suggested we stop and visit a well-known monastery, Visoki Decani. It is a Serbian Orthodox monastery, and due to the potential for violence or damage from ethnic Albanians, it is under the protection of KFOR (Kosovo Force, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force).

The monastery was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. The church was not damaged during the conflict, and has hundreds of frescoes (I feel fancy using that word, but that’s what they call the paintings inside on the walls.) Although visiting hours had just ended, the security guards allowed us to go inside, and one of the monks gave us a tour of the grounds and the church.

This is the original gate entrance dating back to the 14th century.
IMG_0877

IMG_0878

View of the church.
IMG_0881

Tour of the inside of the church. The paintings covered the walls, top to bottom. Although the church was looted many times, the building itself has been preserved.
IMG_0882

IMG_0883

IMG_0884

IMG_0886

He showed us a book from 1860 that is still used during the weekly services.
IMG_0890

This picture is not mine, but I found it when I was looking up more information online and I thought it was worth sharing. There are about 25 monks currently living and working at Decani. More information about the monastery: http://www.kosovo.net/edecani.html
monks

As we were leaving, I was happy to see they had signs pointing to a W.C. (W.C. = water closet, or toilet. The entire time I was studying abroad in Austria I thought W.C. meant waste closet, which is really basically the same thing.) I’ve had pretty good luck with public restrooms so far in Kosovo, which should have been a sign to me that my luck was sure to run out.

There were three female stalls with closed doors. I cautiously opened one and looked inside. I don’t know what concerned me more, the toilet itself (if you can call it that, which I’m guessing they do) or the flies. There were so many flies. I had questions – which way do I face? (according to my online research, this does not matter), does this flush? (it did, you pulled a string behind the toilet. I didn’t know where the water would come from, I had visions of it pouring down from above like a shower so I tried to press myself up against the wall and I closed my eyes when I pulled the string.)

Of course I took a picture to show JR what an adventurer I am.

IMG_0892

It seems like poor form to end this post talking about toilets, when it was a really lovely visit. So here’s a final picture from the grounds looking at the mountains.

IMG_0893

One thought on “Visoki Decani

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s