They are particularly important in the European and world history for the period of their origin. Several very old churches in the areas where Serbs used to live and still live today ranks us among the civilised and most founded nations of the world. Also important are the monasteries from the Nеmаnjić period, depicting the history of Serbs and their state in a grand manner.
St Peter’s Church near Nоvi Pаzаr today is the oldest monument of church architecture in Serbia. It was built by the Doclean King Pаvlimir in the mid-9th century, founding here the Ras Bishopric, the first independent church unit among the Serbian principalities
Then follows the St Procopius’ Church. It was built in the period of King Samuel, in the late 14thcentury and it keeps the relics of Procopius the martyr, after whom the church and the whole area of Prokuplje were named.
When Byzantium conquered Macedonia, through its Greek archbishops, Оhrid became a fertile ground of the Byzantine culture. In the mid-11th century, a beautiful St Sophia Church was built.
In the 12th century, a new custom was established in the Byzantine society – the rich noblemen started to build churches, their endowments. Those churches were usually the smaller ones and of a simple architecture. An exception is an imposing church of Nerezi, near Skоplјe, with its complex ground plan and even five domes.
The earliest Serbian churches may also include the first endowments by St Simeon Nеmаnja: the Holy Virgin’s Monastery near Kuršumliјa and St Nicholas’ in Тоplica.