“‘This is a piece of heaven on Earth,’ the monk said. ‘When you are here, you feel it.’
Dressed in a long black robe and stroking a long black beard, the monk’s words would seem a simple phrase, a holy man talking about a holy place.
But nothing is simple here.
His home, the Banjska Monastery, is set high above a village just outside of Mitrovica in Kosovo — a divided city in a divided country that still bears the scars and nurses the slights of wars dating back more than 600 years.
Built between 1313 and 1317 by the Serbian King Stefan Milutin, the monastery was his burial site until the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.
That battle, between the Christian Serbs and the Ottoman Turks, has been highly mythologized and there are contradictory historical accounts. What is known is that the Serb leader, Prince Lazar, was killed. His death has become a symbol of Serb suffering and resistance that still resonates.” (New York Times)