Vetmia e Shën Petrit Korishës

Испосница и манастир Светог Петра Коришког - Isposnica i manastir Svetog Petra Koriškog - Hermitage and Monastery of Saint Peter Koriški

Useful Information

Location: East of Prizren, near the village of Korisa.
(42.2490971, 20.8306257)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Hermitage of St. Peter of Koriša.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1220 oldest part with the remains of frescoes.
1453 abandoned after the Turkish invasion.
1572 remains of St. Peter Koriški were moved to the monastery Crna Reka.
16-DEC-1950 declared cultural monument.
1961 archeological excavation and architectural conservation works.
1990 registered as a Protected Monument of Culture.
2021 a group of four Kosovo Albanians was arrested by local police authorities for stealing archeological remains.


Vetmia e Shën Petrit Korishës (Hermitage of St. Peter of Koriša) are the ruins of a cave monastery. It was built into a natural cave or shelter at a steep valley wall probably around 1220. The oldest part is the partially carved natural recess in the rock with the remains of frescoes. According to legend, the local Saint, St. Peter of Korisa, led his ascetic life in this cave-hermitage at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century. He died at a very old age and was burried here. About 100 years later, at the end of the 13th or at the beginning of the 14th century, a church was built on the narrow plateau in front of the cave. The arcades and massive columns still exist, they are the most impressive part of the site, and can be seen from some distance. The rest of the church is destroyed.

The ledge was quite narrow, the monastery was a multi-storey building erected between the rocks north-west of the church. Some scholars think Gregory of Chilandar built the church of St Peter of Korisa. He bought the land and the vineqard as well as two mills and equipped the church with liturgical books. On 19-MAY-1343 the monastery was donated to King Stefan Dusan to serve as a temporary diocesan center for Metropolitan John of Serres. The grave of St. Peter of Korisa attracted not only monks but also numerous pilgrims.

In 1453, the Prizren region was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. The monks abandoned the monastery, and never returned. More than a century later, in 1572, the remains of St. Peter of Korisa were moved to the Crna Reka Monastery. The empty grave is still visible. The holy relics of the saint rest in a coffin located in a arcosolium of SubterraneaManastir Crna Reka.

The monastery is not easy to access, although there is a small hostel in the hamlet on the other side of the valley. The site is nevertheless protected, both as a Protected Monument of Culture and a cultural monument. Different names under different political systems, which obviously mean the same as Historical Monument. The site was once excavated in 1961, and conservation works were carried out. And despite the fact that not much is left, there was an incident a few years ago. Four Albanians tried to steal archaeological remains, but were caught by the local police.

This cave monastery is an archaeological site, and while it is protected by law, there are no access restrictions. On the other hand, it is quite remote and hard to find. This is actually not a tourist site.