Well defended monastery

Pec Travel Blog

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I start out the day heading towards a little town called Peje, Pecs or Peja depending on which language you like to speak. I guess the Albanian version of the name is Peje - hence it is the most common version in use. It is in principle a short ride, but we have to go along the hopeless airport road, which makes even short journeys longer than they should be.


I get to town and it is a nice little town in the mountains with lots on snow on top - despite the spring temperatures down in the city in the valley it must still be pretty cold up on top of the small mountains - which is actually not so small and is among the tallest in the country. I wander around the city for a while searching for an old monastery which is just a bit outside the city - but I walk and walk - and the city just go on and on - even though I constantly think it will end just around the next corner.

The ruins of the courtyard of the monastery
It is a small city and it definitely looks like the outskirts of town. But in the end I give up and walk a bit back to catch a taxi to go to this monastery.


I find the taxi and he tells me he will go there for 2€ which sounds like a fair price. I get in and we go down the road - the road I just walk back and forth on - and we drive just a little bit further down and then he stops at a military checkpoint. I think we just need to be checked before leaving town. But no we are here I should just have gone on for another 4-500 meters and I would have made it. Well I get out and is confronted by an Italian heavily armed guard carrying big weapons which to me looks like semiautomatic rifles - but keep in mind I am not an expert in Italian military equipment and it might have been something completely different - like an oversized fountain pen.


I am not allowed in immediately. First I need to show ID - great I left my passport where I stay - I try giving him my driver’s license hoping it will do the trick - and it do.

The three churches of the monastery
Then he just needs to call the responsible to let him know I am coming through. I am not sure if this means the head of the Italian military force or the man in charge of the monastery - but he calls and I am allowed through - with strict instructions not to take pictures of anything - unless I get permission from the man in charge.


I walk up the hill towards the monastery expecting to be met by somebody when I get there - after all my arrival was announced. But when I get to the entrance there is nobody there - I look in - no nobody seems to take any notice of this strange tourist arriving. I must be at the wrong place so I walk a bit further to see if there is another entrance - no there is not - I was clearly looking in at the right spot in the first place. I go back down and have a look in. There is still nobody around. But I walk in and go to the church there is a nun sleeping at a bench behind a small stall with postcards and other souvenirs. I ask her if it is ok to take pictures inside the church - unfortunately it is not - but it is ok outside.


I go in and have a look at the church - it is very nice with a big main hall and three side halls all of which is very nicely decorated with old frescoes.

This is actually what the monastery is famous for - the best frescoes in any Serbian orthodox church. I go out and have a bit of a look around the courtyard. I am still looking for a bit more - I check my guidebook and it tells me there is supposed to be three churches but I only see one. I ask a priest standing in the courtyard if there is something else - of course he speaks no English but fortunately there is an English speaking nun who tells me this is it - there is no more of the monastery. I have another look of the church and then I realize why the church looked so strange - it is actually three tiny churches build right next to each other and then later somebody have added a common entry to all three churches.


Then I head down the hill from the monastery to collect my driver’s license. I ask if it is ok to take a picture just of the entrance gate to the monastery without any of the KFOR forces or barbwire in the picture - but I get a firm no from the Italian speaking chief of the guards. I head away a bit disturbed by the fact that a international force is necessary to protect a monastery from being destroyed as a result of a ethnic conflicted in Europe at this day and age.

anupa_rk says:
Nice blog...
Posted on: Aug 26, 2009
delsol67 says:
Now between us, we have been to most important parts of Kozova. Brian
Posted on: Apr 10, 2009
Lord_Mike says:
Very interesting!!!
Posted on: Apr 10, 2009
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The ruins of the courtyard of the …
The ruins of the courtyard of the…
The three churches of the monastery
The three churches of the monastery
The moutains in Peje
The moutains in Peje
photo by: tj1777