Stefan was the son of Grand Prince Vukan, who was self-styled "King of Duklja, Dalmatia, Travunia, Toplica and Hvosno" (1195), and ruled Serbia briefly in 1202-1204. Stefan Vukanović, titled knez ("prince") had two brothers, the eldest Đorđe, who was the Grand Prince of Zeta (1208–1216), and youngest Dmitar, a župan (county lord) and monk. In 1252, Stefan Vukanović built the Morača monastery.
The Morača monastery, Stefan Vukanović's endowment.
Stefan Vukanović built the monastery by the Morača river, in the heartlands of Duklja (Zeta, in modern south-central Montenegro). It was founded in 1252, during the rule of King Stefan Uroš I (r. 1243–1276), on the right banks of the Morača, in the wide part of the Morača canyon, called Donja Morača. It overlooks the river from 40 metres above sea level. Nearby is the Svetigora waterfall, regarded the finest waterfall of Montenegro.