Orientation of the monastery churches of Ovčar-Kablar gorge (the Republic of Serbia)

Milutin Tadić, Aleksandar Petrović, Ratomir Veselinović


Ovčar-Kablar gorge is after Fruška Gora Mountain the area with the largest number of old Serbian monasteries. This paper analyzes church orientation of all nine monasteries of the gorge from mathematical-geographical point of view, focusing on the churches of six monasteries that originate from the so called extended Middle Ages. Of these six churches only the axis of the Church of the Holy Trinity is directed exactly to the equinoctial east. Considering the means and methods that the chief architect could use, the orientation of monastery church of Vavedenje (“Presentation of Mary”) with the aberration of only 4° can be also regarded as accurate. Moreover, this aberration could be the consequence of a mistake made by the chief architect about the date of equinox, which is also the case with the aberration of the monastery church of Sretenje (“Presentation of Our Lord”). The axis of the monastery church of Blagoveštenje (“Annunciation”) is approximately directed to the point of the sunrise of summer solstice. Only the axis of the monastery church of Nikolje (“St Nicholas”), the oldest in the group of six of conditionally medieval churches, is out of the eastern sector of the horizon i.e. only this axis is not oriented in accordance with the ideal-type church rule.


Mathematical geography, church orientation, Serbian Middle Ages, Ovčar-Kablar gorge

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