It is well-known that the most remote places are hiding the most outstanding discoveries. This has been proven countless times, and the southern region of Bosnia & Herzegovina is no exception. Among other treasures, it is home to one of the most prominent historical monuments of this country - Dobrićevo, a salvaged 13th-century Orthodox monastery. Not only is the place off the radar and pretty untouristy but also arriving there is an adventure in itself. It is located in the middle of no man’s land. Around 20 minutes of drive from the city of Trebinje, you will find this shrine almost on the shore of Bileća Lake, another extraordinary hidden gem of southern Bosnia & Herzegovina.
For the last 50 years, Dobrićevo Monastery is situated in the village Orah that belongs to the municipality of Bileća. However, the original location of this spiritual centre was near the Trebišnjica River in the village Dobrićevo, where it was built in the 13th century. If you wonder why this monastery has two addresses, here is the answer. Due to the construction on the hydropower plant on the Trebišnjica River in 1964, this location was flooded. Since the monastery, together with other edifices, was in danger to finish under the water, the salvation plan was developed. Eventually, by a delicate procedure, the whole complex was relocated. A similar destiny had another Orthodox sanctuary – Kosijerevo Monastery. Like Dobrićevo, this monastery was originally located on the banks of Trebišnjica River, but due to the creation of Grančarevo Dam in 1968, it had to be relocated – curiously in the village Petrovići, in Montenegro.
Today’s church, which is dedicated to the Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary, was built on the foundations of the old Roman basilica, as per monastery’s seal from 1232. Nevertheless, the history of this place dates back to the times of Early Christianity. Similar to Tvrdoš Monastery and Zavala Monastery, both in the range of 50 km, Dobrićevo was on the list of worship places of the first Christian Roman Emperor. The legend has it that the sanctuary was created by the St. Constantin and his mother St. Helen upon their return from Rome. During their rest here, they commented how “it was good” (good=dobar), and that’s how the monastery got its lovely name - Dobrićevo. When it comes to the architecture, its cross-shaped church was built in the Byzantine style, and it belongs to the group of the most significant Serbian Orthodox monasteries from the times of Nemanjić Dynasty.
In its long history, this spiritual centre was destroyed and robbed many times – from the Ottomans to the WWI and WWII. But the worst ones were the Austro-Hungarians who burnt the church in order to destroy the valuable frescoes and relics. Luckily, some of those precious objects were saved. So, you happen to be in Trebinje, keep in mind that in less than half-an-hour ride you can reach Dobrićevo, a salvaged 13th-century Orthodox monastery. And if exploring archaeological ruins and diving in lakes are your things, I strongly suggest you visit the nearby Bileća Lake and its underwater villages.
Pictures © Credits to Dobrićevo Monastery
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