The submerged church of Saint Archangel Michael – Lake Rovni, Serbia

by   Profile Ivana and Janez   When 17th November 2023
Photo by Janez Kranjc (5)
Photo by Janez Kranjc
Photo by Janez Kranjc (1)
Photo by Janez Kranjc
Photo by Janez Kranjc (3)
Photo by Janez Kranjc
Photo by Janez Kranjc (7)
Photo by Janez Kranjc

Not far from Valjevo, on the river Jablanica, near the villages of Stubo and Rovni, a dam was built for a reservoir that provides drinking water to the surrounding towns. The project was started back in 1978, but the reservoir was filled for the first time in 2016, submerging a number of buildings. This caused a great divide in public opinion, because among those buildings was the church of Saint Archangel Michael, in the village of Tubravić.

This church, also known as Valjevska Gračanica, was built in the 15th century and survived until 2016 when it went below the surface of the newly made Lake Rovni. Seeing this church was the main goal of our visit to the lake.

Lake Rovni is found in the idyllic setting of the Valjevo hills which are overgrown with dense forest. The water is emerald green, so the whole landscape looks very beautiful.

In order to get to the entry point, a serious all-terrain vehicle is necessary as well as good knowledge of the local roads. The maximum depth of the lake, according to official data, is 67 meters. The temperature on the surface was around 25°C but dropped drastically with depth.

The Church of Saint Archangel Michael becomes visible at about 12 meters deep. The first thing you see is the cross on the top and the transparency of the water is very good at that point. This summer in Serbia it was very rainy, which resulted in reduced visibility at a depth of over 15 meters. This is where a layer of muddy water started, which made it impossible for us to record anything at the bottom. The surrounding area of the church itself is very well preserved, but this time it was not possible for us to record it.

The water temperature at a depth of twenty meters was below 10°C, so the XR3 Neoprene Dry Suit with the complete XR setup was the right choice for this dive. We will definitely repeat the dive here, because apart from diving, the natural environment is phenomenal and the local food is excellent. Ideal for a one-day diving trip.

Text and photos: Janez Kranjc

Diver and model: Aleksandar Gucunja

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Profile Ivana and Janez
When 17th November 2023
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