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The Patriarchate of Peć in Hvosno, seat of Serbian Orthodox church from the late 13th century to 1766.

Hvosno was a medieval Serbian župa (district) located in the northern part of the Metohija region, in Kosovo[a]. It roughly encompassed the areas of the modern Istok and Peć municipalities. It was surrounded by the Jelci župa to the north, the Budimlja and Plav župas to the west, the Zatrnava župa to the south and the Draškovina and Podrimlje župas to the east and southeast.


There are also other spellings of the name, such as Hvostno, Fosno and Fostno.

The name of Hvosno is derived from the Old Slavic word hvost, meaning 'thick wood', probably due to dense forests that grow on the slopes of surrounding mountains.[1] There are several places with similar names such as Hvoshno (Хвошно) in Russia, one near the town of Luga in Leningrad oblast (p.89), one in Tver oblast, village in Vitebsk Oblast in Belarus, river and lake named Hvosnya (Хвошня) also in Tver oblast, village Fosnya (Фошня) (older name Hvosnya- Хвошня) in Bryansk Oblast etc.

Early history[edit]

Area of Hvosno was settled by the Serbs in the 6th century during Slavic invasion of the Balkans. In the 9th and 10th century it was part of the Serbian state of Vlastimirović dynasty, it is believed that Serbian city of Dresneik mentioned in Constantine Porphyrogenitus' De Administrando Imperio is identical with the village of Drsnik in Hvosno.[2] After the fall of Vlastimirović dynasty Hvosno probably felt under the Bulgarian and latter, after the fall of Bulgarian empire in 1018, it came under the Byzantine rule for the next two centuries. Hvosno is first time mentioned as Χoσνoς ( Hosnos ) in 1018. as place under the jurisdiction of bishop of Prizren in three charters of emperor Basil II donated to the archbishop of Ohrid.[3] It's interesting to point out that some of the oldest recorded places in the area of Hvosno have direct parallels with several place names in modern Czech Republic, for example villages of Trebovitić, Ljutoglav and Drsnik correspond with Trebovetice ( [1] map ), Litohlavy and Drsnik ([2] map, cs:Drsník article in Czech ) in Czech republic, indicating early Slavic settlement in the area.[4]

Under the Nemanjić dynasty[edit]

In the second half on 12th century Serbian Grand župan Stefan Nemanja managed to gain independence from Byzantine empire and started to expand on its expense, capturing Hvosno among other Byzantine territories as well. Hvosno was mentioned in the Life of Saint Simeon,[5] written between 1201 and 1208 by his son and first Serbian archbishop Saint Sava, as one of the districts that Serbian Grand župan Stefan Nemanja (Saint Simeon) conquered from the Byzantine Empire between 1180 and 1190.[6]

Saint Sava on Serbian conquest of Hvosno ( in Serbian ):

И пошто је обновио очеву дедовину и још више утврдио Божјом помоћу и својом мудрошћу даном му од Бога, и подиже пропалу своју дедовину и придоби од поморске земље Зету са градовима, а од Рабна оба Пилота, а од грчке земље патково, све Хвосно и Подримље, Кострц, Дршковину, Ситницу, Лаб, Липљан, Глбочицу, Реке, Ушку и Поморавље, Загрлату, Левче, Белицу. То све мудрошћу и трудом својим све ово придоби што му је припадало од српске земље, а одузето му некада насиљем од своје дедовине[7]

in English:

And after he had restored his father's patrimony and fortified it with God's help, and with his God given wisdom, he resurrected his grandfather's land and he conquered: from Littoral land: Zeta with its cities, from Raban[Albania]: both districts of Pilot, and from the Greek land: Patkovo, all Hvosno and Podrimlje, Kostrc, Draškovina, Sitnica, Lab, Lipljan, Glbočica, Reke, Uska and Pomoravlje, Zagrlata, Levče, Belica. All that areas, which belonged to him in Serbian land and were taken by force from his patrimony, he recaptured with his wisdom and effort.

It appears that beside župa ( district ) of Hvosno there was also larger territory called 'zemlja' ( land ) of Hvosno which encompassed not only župa of Hvosno but some of the surrounding župas as well such as : Kujavča, Zatrnava, Podrimlje and Kostrc . The zemlja of Hvosno latter corresponded to the territorial spread of diocese of Hvosno.[8]

After the Serbian conquest it seems that Hvosno was given as apanage to Stefan Nemanja's elder son Vukan Nemanjić. In an inscription dated 1195 in the church of St. Luke in Kotor Vukan is titled as King of Duklja, Dalmatia, Travunia, Toplica and Hvosno ( in Latin: ...Velcani, regis Diokle, Dalmatie, Tripunie, Toplize et Cosne).[9]

After the civil war between Nemanja's sons Vukan and Stefan Nemanjić which ended with Vukan's defeat and Stefan's ascension to the Serbian throne Hvosno became part of his royal domain. King Stefan Nemanjić donated in 1220 several villages in Hvosno, namely: Peć, Crni Vrh, Stlpezi, Trebovitići, Goražda Vas, Naklo Vas, Čelopeci, Labljani and Ljutoglav ( with the nearby castle which served as the district's centre ), to his newly founded monastery of Žiča, which served as a seat of the Serbian archbishop. Beside the mentioned villages Stefan Nemanjić also gave to Žiča two large pastures in Hvosno named Slano Polje and Tmasti Gvozd.[10] Soon afterward Archbishop Sava founded the monastery of the Holy Virgin of Hvosno near the village of Studenica and made it a seat of the newly founded Diocese of Hvosno, one of the 7 suffragan dioceses of Serbian archbishopric created in 1219. When the seat of Serbian archbishopric was transferred from Žiča to the town of Peć around 1290, Hvosno became one of the religious and cultural centers of Serbian medieval state. During the Medieval period Serbian kings and emperors continued to donate villages and lands in Hvosno to major Serbian monasteries: king Stephen Uroš I of Serbia (1243–1276) donated the villages of Štupelj and Zahak in Hvosno to the Serbian Hilandar monastery in Mount Athos, same king donated village of Rakoš to the church of Holy Virgin in Ston and built the church of Saint Nicholas near Peć which he donated with the nearby marketplace of Stlp to the monastery of Mileševo while his brother king Milutin donated the pasture of Labićevo to Hilandar and village of Gumnište to monastery of Banjska; in 1330 king Stefan Dečanski donated several villages in Hvosno ( Strelce, Ljuboliči, Prapraćani and Ljubuša ) to his newly founded monastery of Dečani; in 1348 emperor Stefan Dušan donated the villages of Kosorići, Dnepolje, Doljani and Češkovo to the Hilandar monastery and katun (pastoral community ) of Sinainci to the monastery of Saint Archangel in Prizren.[11] Finally in 1379 Serbian prince Lazar donated the village of Jelšanica (Jošanica in modern Serbian) in Hvosno to Hilandar.

After the Nemanjićs[edit]

After the collapse of Serbian empire and extinct of Nemanjić dynasty in 1371, Hvosno came briefly under the control of House of Balšić family but in 1378, after the death of Đurađ I Balšić, Hvosno came under the control of Serbian nobleman Vuk Branković and remained under the rule of his family until the Ottoman conquest in 1455. By the end of the Mediaeval Serbian state most of Hvosno was in possession of Serbian Archbishopric and Patriarchate, Diocese of Hvosno and various Serbian Orthodox monasteries while the town of Peć served as a seat of Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate from 1346 to 1766.

Nemanjic’s Serbia, 1150–1220 showing the location of Hvosno

Notes and references[edit]


a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 107 out of 193 United Nations member states.


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