Photographer's Note

Monastery Tvrdoš is dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos and was built upon the stone formations of Tvrdoš along the right side of the banks of the Trebišnjica River, four kilometers west of Trebinje.

Referring to Tvrdoš, historians considered it sufficient to say that it is a monastery dating back to the “Middle Ages” and that it is famous as a monastery in Trebinje. However, according to legend which is a fact relatively recently documented, Monastery Tvrdos was founded by the Czar, Saint Constantine, and his mother Saint Helen. Further after it was destroyed and abandoned, it became the endowment of the Serbian King Milutin at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. A thorough restoration in 1509 was made by Metropolitan Visiarion I of Trebinje.

The monastery was for two centuries, if not more, the see of Hum-Herzegovina, the then-known Metropolitanate of Trebinje. During the Turkish-Venetian War, the Venetians in 1694 the entire church and the entire monastery blown up by explosives.

The church was only then restored by the new endower, Nikola Runjevac, the wealthy Trebinian from America at that time the smaller old konak was repaired and a newer and larger konak was built. A great awakening and the intense renovation of the monastery was experienced from 1955 which still continues until the present day.
Upon the destruction of Monastery Tvrdoš at the end of the 14th century, many priceless spiritual and precious cultural items from Tvrdoš were transferred to Monastery Savina near Herceg Novi. The lifeblood of this monastery was continued not only in Savina, but more so in the nearby Metoch-Monastery Duzi. In October of 1992 the holy hand of an unknown saint was brought from Duzi to Tvrdoš. It was most probably that of the Saint Helen, the Queen mother of Milutin and Dragutin (as it used to be present in the monastery according to the record in the journal of the monasteries of Trebinje which is currently found in Savina.

Presently, Monastery Tvrdoš with the iguman Sava (Mirić) and his monastic brotherhood strive, with the help of our God and of good-willed people, to revive this sanctuary of the Most Holy Theotokos of Tvrdoš even more.

The monks started ten years ago a new chapter in the story of the monastic winemaking in monastery Tvrdoš. They took care of the grapevine in Trebinjsko polje, where the old plantations of the Vranac are located on 70 hectares of land and even built 60 hectares of young vineyards in Popovo polje.

Today the monastery has two cellars. In an old stone cellar from the 15th century, in hundred-year-old oak barrels vranac matures, and only ten meters away, next to the Trebišnjica, a new cellar is dug, equipped with the latest technology, but perfectly integrated into the existing complex.
Modern technological solutions include also a gravitational transport of wine during processing, enabled by height differences between different levels of cellars.

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Additional Photos by Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 309 W: 126 N: 906] (6393)
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