A treasure of the past, a hallmark of the present, a pillar of the future.
Somewhere halfway between Banja Luka and Doboj, the two biggest cities in northern Bosnia & Herzegovina, one can find a stunning Liplje Monastery, one of the most beautiful sacred places in the country. This medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery erects at the foothills of Mt. Borja, some 25 km from a small town called Teslić. Hidden in the area that boosts in untouched nature, this sanctuary dates back to the 13th century and is closely connected to the times of Serbian Kingdom. A fairy-tallish scenery of the monastery that stands in perfect symbiosis with surrounding landscapes doesn’t leave you indifferent. Its imposing size, impressive history and artistic legacy make Liplje Monastery one of the most important religious sites in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Let’s explore this secluded Orthodox spiritual center together.
According to some folk tales, Liplje Monastery got its name after the linen-trees (“lipa” means linden-tree), that surround the monastic complex. Other stories claim that the origin of the name comes from a grass called “lipica”. Either way, it has been since ever known under this name. The monastery is an endowment of Serbian King Dragutin (1276-1282), and it was built at the end of the 13th century, probably on foundations of another, much older church. Even though its name was first mentioned in 1272, according to historical sources, the earliest mention of the monastery itself dates back to the second half of the 15th century. In its long and turbulent history, Liplje Monastery played an important role as a scriptorium of religious books.
In the 17th century, the monastery was burnt by the Ottomans, and the monks had to fled the complex. Only in the late 19th century, the church was restored, and it partially returned its spiritual role. Initially, the monastery was dedicated to St. Nicola, but during these renovations, it was consecrated to the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. At that time, the remains of the old frescoes were buried in the new monastic walls. At the beginning of the 20th century, the complex was enriched with a bell tower, that was removed in the 1980s, during the restorations. It took almost three centuries before the monastic life was re-established in Liplje Monastery in 1965.
When you plan your trip to this secluded Orthodox spiritual center, keep in mind that 25 km on the north from Liplje Monastery, there is another sacred complex – Stuplje Monastery, that belongs to the same historical timeline. Also, in the proximity of the town of Teslić, you can see a wooden church dating back to 1642, that built in only one day. Finally, when your spiritual tour comes to an end, you might dream of a place to relax. In that case, Banja Vrućica, the most famous spa resort in Bosnia & Herzegovina, situated only 5 km from Teslić, will be your choice.
Cover picture © Credits to panoramio/ducic
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