Pustinja monastery in the Jablanica Gorge not far from the village of Pocuta near Valjevo is thought to date from the 13th or 14th century.

King Dragutin is assumed to have founded it as a church for miners. A Turkish tax register from 1572 says thet one monk was living in the monastery. Above the western door inside the curch is an inscription that says its construction started in the month of March and was finished on June 25, 1622. This church dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin was built by Hiermonk Joakim and was damaged during the Turkish army’s march on Vienna.

After the renovating in 1759 it was damaged again in 1787 and 1788. After having been set on fire by Pasha Busatlija it remained in ruins and deserted for 40 years. During the First World War Austrian soldiers used the monastery narthex as a stable for their horses and when they retreated they took two large bells with them.

monastery Pustinja

The church is a single nave structure with an altar apse on the eastern side and choirs on the northern and southern sides. An octagonal dome rises above the central part of the church.

The church is built of broken stone and travertine in the spirit of the Raska School of architecture. The church is roofed with tiles and the dome has shingles. A rectangular nartez with a tall bell tower was added in 1848.

The Pustinja monastery church was painted with frescoes in 1622 by zographs Jovan an Nikola. They completed their modest work with its great contrast and powerful coloring in 123 days. Hieromonk Joakim is shown as the founder of the church presetnig it to the Virgin as a gift.

The icinostasis is made of masonry; the altar side is covered with frescoes and on the church side only the Apostles Peter and Paul are depicted. There are 19th century icons on the iconostasis.

Pustinja is now a convent.