Archaeology Park “Lazarus Town”
In all likelihood, Prince Lazar builds his capital city in 1371, when, as the most powerful lord, he consolidates the power over the concurred territory. The first mention of the town of Krusevac was in 1387 in a charter by which Prince lazar acknowledged previously gained trading privileges to Dubrovnik traders (“In Krusevac, a glorious town of noblemen of mine...) Comprehensive archaeological research, conducted between 1961 and 1971, lead to significant findings about the appearance of the town and clearer picture about life in the city. The earlier period testifies about medieval objects like Lazarica Church, remains of the main tower with part of a town walls on the north, and minor parts of walls within the complex.
The fortification expanding in southwest-northeast direction (300 x 200 m, axes dimensions), covers a natural plateau with a highest point of 161.33 m. Built by the model and experiences of Byzantine and Serbian defence architecture of early time, the complex was probably constructed in two phases: “the small town” (main tower, ramp, trench, and a smaller tower) and a palace with accompanying buildings in the south-western area, were built at the same time and before the construction of other profane buildings, fortifications of “the big town”, and Lazarica Church. Along with the remains of several towers of the “big town” some buildings stand out for its significance and size such as the court church, palace, and stables. As one of the very few town centres and important political and economic epicentres of Moravian Serbia, Krusevac greatly contributed to culture and art development of those times. Exceptional accomplishments of a church architecture and monumental art make this epoch the most original in whole Serbian medieval art, representing at the same time, especially by its construction momentum, the only vital creative branch of Byzantine architecture of late middle ages. Fourteenth century marks a beginning of a construction of city units with clearly defined urban concept. That type of town was also a medieval Krusevac that would become a pattern for later construction of fortified towns in Moravian Serbia with applied defence solutions and the way of unification of military and civil functions. Out of the remaining buildings of the “small town”, except for a smaller dimensions tower on the western side (with only 0.50m of height preserved), the remains of an old water tank were discovered at the most northern and the lowest part of the complex. As part of defence system, the ramp stretched across the space between the tower walls and fortification on the north and east on one side and a load bearing wall of a trench on the other side.
Archaeological Park Lazarev grad is an archeological site, a remnant of a medieval city, built by Prince Lazar in 1371. as its capital and military fortification.
The most significant novelty in construction system of medieval Krusevac are most certainly profane objects located within the place of the town walls like a group of civilian structures in the south-western part of the complex. The most dominant among them is a square shaped residential building of 17.70 x 19.50 m dimensions, and sporadically preserved walls of 0.60 m in height. Apparently, this was the prince’s palace, with pebble walls, dominant open porch and four rooms. Among other buildings in this part, the stables stand out by its size, almost square shaped and built of rubble of 12x13 m of internal dimensions and topographic point lower for 2.20 m in comparison to the rest of the terrain where the wide ramp was laid at the north-eastern side. One of the most significant artifacts found here is a molten bronze medallion, renovated and decorated with gold –plating with heraldic display of a lion among bushes and weave of stylized lilies that belongs to ornaments of harness (permanent exhibition of Krusevac National Museum).
According to conducted researches, and providing the altered spatial and functional organization of Krusevac town, it would be possible to assume that workshops were built in the north-eastern part of the complex, like smitheries – partly dug object of smaller dimensions (3 x 3.5 m) with rubble walls right across the residential objects situated in the south-western part.
Monument to Prince Lazar
Monument to Prince Lazar, the founder of Krusevac, is placed in the eastern part of the Archaeological Park “Prince Lazar’s Town". It was unveiled on June 27, 1971 on the occasion of the celebration of the six centuries of Krusevac existence. Nebojsa Mitric, an author and a sculptor from Belgrade, found an inspiration for the statue of Lazar in a usual posture of Serbia medieval rulers on coins: a sitting posture with a sword on their laps. The face of Prince Lazar was done by fresco of the Ravanica Monastery founder. Architectonic characteristics of Prince Lazar were represented by the contours of medieval town lying on the left shoulder of the statue, and by outlines of Lazarica underneath the right arm that were easily visible. Ornaments on a gown were inspired by the ones on a Lazar’s costume whose replica is exhibited in Krusevac
Kruševac National Museum
National Museum of Krusevac was founded on December 19, 1951. During almost 60 years of work and continuous development, it has grown out to important cultural institution not only in Krusevac, but the Rasina District and the Republic of Serbia as well. Predominant activity of the Museum is collection, conservation, preservation and presentation of mobile cultural heritage. The museum fund numbers 22.000 of art and historical works, tri-dimensional artefacts, photographs, and documents. Museum exhibits are sorted in 7 collections: archaeological, ethnographic, numismatic, cultural and historical, natural museum, fine arts, and applied arts. Arrangement of materials has a chronological concept starting with the Prehistory, accentuating the middle ages – the era of Prince Lazar and Despot Stefan. The visitors are mostly attracted to Price Lazar’s gown and the original model of Vidovdan Temple, done by famous Ivan Mestrovic, that should have been built on the sight of the Kosovo battle, but the project was never implemented because of its high costs.
The main city tower ("Donžon"), with preserved 18 m of height (the structure was more than 20 m tall), was built with pebble and rubble and sandstone beams in corners that served as fortification of the structure. Based on visible bearings of floor constructions, where the main entrance was, it can be concluded that it had four floors and additional ground floor. The external shape of the main tower line and the fortifications that extend from it in north and east direction, is followed by a defence dry trench, 4.5 m deep, and maximum width of 9 m, and rugged bottom with sides fortified with load barrier walls. The structure had a defence role, especially as the last line of resistance to the enemy that had already entered the city walls.
The Lazarica Church is, along with the town of Kruševac, in the core of which it is located, the oldest and most valuable cultural asset in the town.
Lazarica Church is rightfully called the pearl of Moravian architecture. It was built in 1375 or 1376 in a glory of a birth of Despot Stefan, the firstborn son of Prince Lazar and the heir to the throne. The church is dedicated to Archdeacon Stefan, the saint protector of Nemanjic dynasty. Church has a clover-shaped foundation, the reduced form of an in-written cross, with three longitudinal bays, a dome over the central space and concurrently built narthex, originally constructed with an open side passages. Interior shape of apses is semicircular, while the exterior is of pentagonal shape with colonettes laid against the sides’ joining. The application of a clover –shape method in Morava Architecture School was a result of an impact of the idea of monks from Mount Athos to construction of Lazar’s Serbia, state that was greatly influenced, in a political and cultural sense, by the Mount Athos.
The upper construction lies on arches placed against pilasters. Vaults are usually semicircular, rarely cross-shaped; the dome lies on the pendentive, with inner circular and external octangular shape, and it was formed in unusually emphasised and highly placed cubical pedestal. Annex over the narthex is very characteristic since the chapel is placed in the lower part, and visual communication with the church is accomplished through a space in the wall between narthex and naos (inner chamber), while the room above was used as a bell tower. The way of building, with the characteristic changing of horizontal lines of Bela Voda’s sandstone ashlars with three lines of brick, joined by wide lines of mortar, which stand out of the wall level, is Byzantine in its essence. The elevation system shows tendencies of vertical development and grading of masses towards the final accent- the main dome with external shapes corresponding to the inner structure of a building. A specific feature of Lazarica architecture is the compactness of the base mass construction, a regular rhythm, and uniformity of composition as whole in regard to its units. Also, from the spatial and artistic position, the balance between whole architectonic frameworks of the structure was achieved as well. Lazarica Church is characteristic for its completely finished system facades decorating ,rich in ceramic-plastic decorations and particular shallow relief stone plastic of Morava School, achieved through precise sculpturing and uniformity of artistic expression, which was a significant progress compared to earlier plastic decorations of early Morava School churches. Lazarica Church icons were painted during a short Austro-Hungarian rule in Krusevac (1737 - 1739) when a Zograf companion of Andrej Andrejevic from Vrsac painted frescoes in the spirit of the baroque understanding of traditional Serbian painting. At the same time, the most necessary repairs were done on a very ruined church which had been neglected during the Ottoman rule. During the restoration of Lazarica, the church was repainted in 1843, after the liberation from the Turks. The author of frescoes was Zivko Pavlovic, a painter from Pozarevac, who painted the iconostasis of the church during 1844, right before the visit of Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic to Krusevac. Preserved inscriptions show that members of Krusevac artisans and traders guilds usually requested the services of icons painting. One of the first iconostasis created at the end of the 14th century in Krusevac and its surrounding, is characterized by archaic iconographic repertoire and accompanying stylistic features. During 1904 to 1908 comprehensive restoration and conservation church works were conducted. The church regained its original appearance, which was disturbed by various architectonic interventions during 18th and 19th century, thanks to Petar J. Popovic, an architect from the Ministry of Construction, whose work was a pioneer endeavour of its kind in Serbia. During 1908, after the design of Petar Popovic, church house and steeple were built, and much later in 1938 a monumental fence was added to the church yard (which was later relocated to the Old Cemetery of Krusevac) with a gate placed in south-western direction from the church. New parish house was built from 1997 to 2000, at the sight of an old church house, and received blessings afterwards. During the time when Karadjordje gifted a church with the bell in 1812, preserved till these days, Lazarica had already been dedicated to the birth of the Holy Mother of God. This religious holiday is celebrated today. As an exceptional work of Serbian medieval architecture and the national architectural heritage, Lazarica was proclaimed a cultural monument of exceptional significance.