Raška spiritual ceremonies
Developing the awareness of its own cultural values and creating a cultural identity, the manifestation of the “Raška spiritual ceremony” has separated from a large number of manifestations of similar character and has grown into one of the most successful and the most important in the country.
The first part of the program is dedicated to the International Art Colony “Academy of Helen of Anjou” which is held in July in the environment of the medieval monastery Gradac. The colony gathers the most significant domestic authors and guests from abroad. The central part of Raška spiritual ceremonies (from August 15th to 19th) begins with opening the exhibition of works created on the art colony. All these years a broad range (a lot of) of artists, writers, philosophers, clergymen (priests), musicians, scientists, film and theater makers participated in Raška spiritual ceremonies. The original concept, quality participants and various content contributed to this event for over a quarter of a century, bringing together over 1000 participants from Serbia, the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Russia, Spain, Portugal, America, France, Germany and more than 50,000 visitors on more than 300 programs. A few years ago, in the afternoon hours, children’s festivities are organized. The youngest audience, with their presence and active participation in educational programs and workshops, set the task of always choosing the best quality content.
Part of the manifestation is the “The valley of Serbian kings” tourist tour which promotes the tourist potentials, attractions, cultural and historical heritage of the municipality of Raška and its environment (monasteries, churches, Kopaonik, Jošanicka Banja (spa)), which includes several journalists from the cultural and tourist sections.
Since 2000, the Raška spiritual ceremonies annually awarded the prize “Stefan Prvovenčani” (Stefan the First Crowned) for outstanding contribution to Serbian culture. Past laureates of this high award are the well-known figures of the cultural scene in Serbia: the composer Svetislav Božić, painter Milorad Bata Mihailović, philosopher Mihajlo Djurić, director Emir Kusturica, painter Sava Rakočević, writer Milovan Danojlić, poet Slobodan Rakitić, writer Danko Popović, writer Dragoslav Mihajlović, musician Bora Dugić, Predrag Ristić architect, writer Milisav Savić, composer Isidora Žebeljan, director Timothy John Byford, playwright Dušan Kovačević, a journalist, rock critic and publicist Petar Peca Popović, actor Predrag Miki Manojlović, archeologist prof. Dr. Miomir Korać and film director Đorđe Kadijević.
Organizers of the event: Cultural Centre “Gradac” and Tourist Organization Raška.