Krupa na Vrbasu Monastery: the spiritual hotspot

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

It has been confirmed countless times that the most secluded places are hiding some of the most distinguished treasures. The larger region of Banja Luka, the least known European capital, is no exception. Besides Gomionica Monastery, in the proximity of the city, one can find another spiritual retreat. Some 25 km upstream Vrbas River, in the jaw-dropping town called Krupa na Vrbasu, sits a marvel worth your attention – Krupa na Vrbasu Monastery. Dating back to the 13th century, this medieval beauty is known among locals as the spiritual hotspot. Wondering why? Keep reading.

About Krupa na Vrbasu Monastery

Nestled in an inspirational setting, the monastery Krupa na Vrbasu blends perfectly with its beautiful environment. It is situated on a hill and not far away from Krupa River, a tributary of Vrbas River, but also in the proximity of a medieval fortress called Greben. If you pay attention, you will notice the remains of the medieval town Greben, situated on the rock above the church of St. Elijah. Being 24 m long and 12 m wide, the church of Krupa na Vrbasu Monastery is quite massive.  It is a single-nave basilica with a semi-circular apse. Besides the church, this monastic complex consists of a bell-tower that was constructed during the renovations in 1889, but also some outbuildings were added recently. When it comes to relics, one can find the remains of St. Matrona from Moscow.

A bit of monastic history

Picture © credits to Ljiljana Krejic

It is believed that this Serbian Orthodox monastery was built in the late 13th century as an endowment of King Milutin (1282-1321), who belonged to the Nemanjići Dynasty. However, some archaeological excavations discovered the remains of an older basilica from the 6th century, which makes Krupa Monastery the oldest Christian church in this part of Bosnia & Herzegovina. In the 14th and the 15th century, the church served to the inhabitants of the town Greben as a worship place. At that time, the feudal Vojsalić family renovated the church. From 1527-1528, the monastery was destroyed and deserted when the Ottomans occupied this region. It remained in ruins until 1889, when it was rebuilt by Metropolitan bishop Sava Kosanović. After that, it was three more times devastated – in 1914, 1941 and 1969. 

Stećci tombsotnes & a wooden church

Picture © credits to istockphoto/julius lakatos

Nearby this spiritual hotspot, you will notice a necropolis with stećci, Bosnian medieval tombstones, protected as UNESCO World Heritage. Two of those tombstones have some decorations (crosses, rosettes and semi-circular moon).  In the proximity of Krupa na Vrbasu Monastery, precisely in the village Tovilovići, one can find a true rarity - a wooden church. Built in 1735, during the Austro-Turkish wars, this church is eight meters long and six meters large. The log church was constructed when the monastery was devasted, and it served as a shelter for monks, until the Ottomans defeat in 1878. A gospel from Moscow (1778) is the most valuable artefact that this log church preserves. These historical places are just some of the discoveries the surroundings of Banja Luka offer. Much more expects you just around the corner, in the jaw-dropping town of Krupa na Vrbasu

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