The invisible church in the village of Paklenje near Baljevac

Not far from the local cemetery in the village of Paklenje near Baljevac on the Ibar River (Raska municipality), the archaeologists of the National Museum in Kraljevo discovered the remains of an unusual and unique church for this region, completely buried in the ground. The people of Paklenje as well as the archaeologists who were exploring this part of the Ibar Valley did not know about the existence of this church.

– The roof of the church, built of bricks connected by special mortar, was flat and covered with soil, grass and moss, we suspected there was something below, but we did not think it was a church – says one man from Paklenje.

Experts believe that this is one of the so-called hidden or invisible churches, that were built during the Turkish era when Christians were forbidden to gather, build churches, and pray to God. This part of Serbia, the valley of the Ibar River and Old Ras, are known for miniature churches. Just in the Ibar Valley alone, there are about 20 buildings of this type.

The Turks were “very generous”, so they gave the inhabitants of certain villages an impossible deadline of just one day or night to build a church. Thus, for example, the church Marinica in Dojinovićе near Novi Pazar was built in one night, in which only a priest and two other believers could stand. The church in Paklenje probably was built secretly and without the consent of the Turks.

– The church is of small size, five meters in length, three meters wide, ends with a semi-circular apse; in the altar space an honorable table was built with bricks. Now that we have discovered and cleared it, there will be additional research, after which we will get some new information about this unusual and rare monument of our history.

Translation to English : Biljana Vidoevska