Rakovica monastery [Belgrade]
The monastery is located on the bank of the Rakovica brook, in the picturesque Šumadija valley between two hills, Pruževica and Straževica. The monastery complex is a closed entity with monks’ quarters, buildings and walls, and the church in the centre.
The church, dedicated to St. Archangel Michael, is dated to the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. The three-conched plan with side choir niches and narthex on the west side is stylistically related to the examples of the Moravska school of mediaeval Serbian architecture. It was built in alternating brick and broken stone layers, in lime mortar. The cornice divides the façades of the church into two unequal belts. The walls are covered with a thick layer of mortar both inside and outside. The original fresco decoration has not been preserved. Interventions and alterations of the church in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries made considerable changes in the appearance of its upper parts.
A dome supported by an octagonal tambour rises over the central part of the nave with floor plan in the form of Greek cross. A slightly lower dome stands over the narthex. The crypt contains the family tomb of Gospodar Jevrem and Tomanija Obrenović, and General Milivoje Blaznavac. In 1910 a memorial to Vasa Čarapić, the work of architect Kosta J. Jovanović, was placed next to the northern outer wall, and on the western wall there is a plaque with the names of warriors killed in 1912-1913 wars. Graves of numerous Serbian historic personalities are in the churchyard. In 1887-88 a fountain was built in front of the monastery gates, the work of architect Jovan Ilkić. The monastery treasury keeps valuable prints, icons, gold objects, old books and other artefacts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
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The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
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Text by Steve Smith.