St Achillius Church

The main landmark of Arilje is St Achillius Church. It dates back to the 13th century being an endowment of Serbian King Dragutin Nemanjić.

Erected in the Raška architectural style, the church served as the seat for the Bishop of Moravica, one of the 12 eparchies established by Archbishop Sava in 1219. King Dragutin’s son Urošic was buried here, and all the famous frescoes date back to the late 13th century.

According to beliefs, Greek migrants from Larissa came here in the 11th century, bringing St Achillius’ remains with them. Arilje still celebrates the saint as the municipality day.

The best-known fresco is The Blue Angel depicting St Archangel Gabriel, but what distinguishes this church the most among other medieval Orthodox buildings is the display of the Serbian royal dynasty that is not to be found anywhere else. The art was also a turning point towards the new painting style of the 14th-century King Milutin’s court.

It is assumed that King Dragutin’s court was located nearby, and there are a couple of more fortresses in the area that date back to the same period – Golubinjak in Visoka village, and Gradina in Trešnjevica.


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