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IMMOVABLE CULTURAL MONUMENTS DATA BASE
Name: The Church of the Holy Virgin of Ljeviska
Municipality: Prizren
Location (place, town, city): Prizren
Institute: The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia – Belgrade
Regional institute: Office for Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Kosovo and Metohija
Date of inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List: 2006
Year of inscription - Note: Inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger in 2006.
CR No.: SК 1369
Date of inscription in the CR: 30.12.1997
Decision on declaring the monument as NCM: Decision of the Institute for Protection and Scientific Research of the Cultural Monuments of the NRS in Belgrade, No. 352 dated March 11, 1948.
Category: NCM of outstanding value
Type: Cultural monument
Year/period of construction: 1306-1307
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The Prizren Cathedral dedicated to the Holy Virgin was renovated by King Milutin in 1306/7, on the remnants of the old church from the 13th century, resting on the foundations of the basilica from the Middle Byzantine period (9th-11th century). The Protomaster Nikola, who had most probably come from Epirus, at the beginning of the 14th century , managed to create a beautiful church presenting and original architectural design, the center of which is a five-dome cross-shaped church , girdled by external vestibule and two layer belfry and the narthex with open porc (presently with walled up altar apses) and the bell-tower on the west side. The Ottomans converted it into a mosque, and to adapt it to their needs, theyembossed the frescoes with bricklayer’s hammer so that the layers of plaster could be applied easily to the wall which was then painted over. Severely damaged iconography possesses extraordinary values and is listed among the most successfully painted frescoes-complete from the period of the Byzantine Palaiologai dynasty rule. That was the work of the ProtomasterAstrap from Thessalonica with his pupils and craftsmendating from about 1310–13., who, judging by the preserved iconography,  created an exceptionally original selection of compositions, individual figures, their iconographic solution both in detail, and also as complete. Particularly important are the supernatural size portraits of ktitorand theprocession of themembers of the Nemanjic dynasty, the predecessors of King Milutin. Conservation-restoration works of the church architecture were carriedout in the fifties of the 20th century, the wall paintings under the layers of limestone were discovered in 1950-52, and thereafter it was cleaned and retouched on severaloccasions in the period 1969-79. The church was damaged by shellfire and burnt down in March 2004, when the portraits of the Nemanjic dynasty from narthex, thetower wall paintings, and to a smaller extent also the naos paintings were severely damaged.