Western Serbia is home to many natural attractions. Still, one, in particular, has caught the attention of scuba divers worldwide: the submerged church of St. Archangel Michael, better known as Valjevska Gracanica.
Diving into History: Exploring the Sunken Sanctuary
Located in the artificial lake Stubo-Rovni, the church was submerged in 2016 when the lake was filled. The construction of the lake and dam caused some controversy, as it led to the submersion of the church, which is considered an important cultural and historical monument.
Despite the controversy, the submerged church has become a popular destination for scuba divers. Members of the diving and rescue club “Borac” from Cacak were among the first to dive at the location and capture the surreal scenes of the underwater sanctuary.
The lake is the largest regional water management system in the area, serving to supply water to Valjevo, Lazarevac, Lajkovac, Uba, and Mionice. It covers an area of 10.4 square kilometers and has a maximum depth of 67 meters.
Due to the cold and murky waters, diving at this location is only possible a few times a year and requires special equipment. However, for those willing to brave the conditions, the experience of exploring the submerged church is truly unique.
The diving team from “Borac” has made multiple dives at the location, capturing footage of the exterior and interior of the church. Their recordings have been shared on social media, attracting attention from scuba divers around the world.
Despite being submerged for several years, the church is still in remarkably good condition. The water has preserved the structure, and the interior is filled with clear water, making it a breathtaking sight for divers.
Exploring the sunken church is not only a thrilling adventure for scuba divers, but it also offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the region. The church was built in the 16th century and is considered an important cultural and historical monument.
Discovering the Submerged Beauty of Valjevska Gracanica
For scuba divers looking for a unique and memorable experience, Valjevska Gracanica offers a one-of-a-kind adventure. The cold and murky waters may not be for everyone, but for those willing to brave the conditions, the experience is truly unforgettable.
The crystal-clear waters of the artificial lake Rovni are known to be exceptionally cold year-round, never exceeding 5 degrees Celsius, and as such, it requires special equipment and training to dive safely in these depths.
Despite the challenging conditions, the diving and rescue club “Borac” from Cacak ventured into the murky waters to explore the submerged beauty of the Valjevska Gracanica. The first time they dove to the site was eight months ago, and since then, they have been intrigued by the underwater wonders of this submerged church.
Divers Capture Breathtaking Footage of Submerged Valjevska Gracanica Church
Recently, Bojan Draskovic, the diving instructor of the club, along with his brother Bratislav and two other team members, returned to the site to explore the interior of the church. The team had to navigate carefully as they followed the left landmarks to the church’s entrance, where they recorded the interior’s appearance to share with the world.
Their underwater footage, shared on the club’s Facebook page, captured the breathtaking sight of the sun’s rays illuminating the greenish waters and the church’s ancient walls. The silence of the underwater world and the peacefulness of the submerged sanctuary created an eerie but captivating atmosphere that the divers described as “unreal scenes.”
The Valjevska Gracanica church was built in the 16th century and has a rich history. The church’s name “Gracanica” means “little Grachanica,” named after the UNESCO-listed Gracanica Monastery in Kosovo, which it is believed to be modeled after. The Valjevska Gracanica was renowned for its beautiful frescoes, some of which were transported and preserved before the church was submerged.
Despite the controversy surrounding the church’s submergence and the artificial lake’s creation, the Valjevska Gracanica has become an incredible underwater attraction for divers. The church’s stunning architecture, the historical significance, and the mystical atmosphere created by the submergence make it a unique diving experience that draws many visitors from across the world.
For experienced divers, exploring the Valjevska Gracanica’s interior is an exciting challenge that requires special training and equipment. But for those who are not certified divers, the surrounding area also offers breathtaking views and an opportunity to witness the submerged beauty from a boat or from the shore.
The lake was created by damming the Jablanica River, which caused significant controversy at the time. Some locals were outraged that the submergence of the church would erase an important cultural and historical site. Others argued that the lake would bring much-needed water resources to the surrounding area, creating new opportunities for agriculture and tourism.
The controversy around the lake’s creation and the church’s submergence highlights the difficult balance between preserving cultural heritage and developing new resources for communities. But for divers, the Valjevska Gracanica is a reminder of the incredible beauty that lies beneath the surface of our world’s waters, a unique and captivating experience that is worth exploring.
In conclusion, the submerged Valjevska Gracanica is a hidden gem that offers a unique diving experience for those who dare to venture into its depths. Despite the controversy surrounding its submergence, the underwater beauty of this ancient church has become an attraction for divers from around the world. The peacefulness and eerie atmosphere created by the submergence, combined with the church’s historical significance and stunning architecture, make it an unforgettable experience for divers and non-divers alike.
Thank you for reading, read this guide to mastering the art of breathing while scuba diving.