St Madonna of Ratac (originally St Michael's) is at a 3 kilometer's distance from Bar on the edge of a protruding cape. Ratac received its name from this cape, from a Slavic word (De Retez, Reteza, Rotoz, Rototo, Rotezzo).
Gvalterius abbas (the abbot) was the first church prelate of the benedectine Monasteries as it is believed, the monastery of St. Michael.
He was mentionend in a preserved document from 1247. This piece of information is extemely important for determining the identity of the original patron, who was the patron of the community until the end of the second half of the 13 century. The cult was then changed, most likely under the influence of Madonna's cult, which startet spreading through Europa already in the 12th century.
The historical events that probably led to changing the patron were caused by Mongolian invasion in 1242. After this, the whole coastal area of Zeta was deserted, and it is supposed that the monastery shared the destiny of the Medieval Town of Svac nearby. The person who played a great part in the restoration of Christian sanctuaries was Helen of Anjou, the wife of Serbian king Stefan Uros I. The documents from 1288 show the way she largely helped the monastic community of Ratac, giving them certain property. Her son, king Stefan Uros II Milutin, on the 15th of March 1303, gave certain villages to Madonna of Ratac Monastery and confirmed the ones given by his mother Helen. With the chart from 1306, the monastery estate was rather enlarged, all the way to Petrovac today to the west, including a large area with a few dozen villages. A little later, most kikely in 1351, the emperor Stefan Dusan confirmed the estates.
The monastery was very important to many worshipers. The worshipers from the whole coastal area, and mostly those from Dubrovnik and Kotor came to the monastery because of the miraculous cion of the Madonna.
The exact date of constructing the monastery is not known, beccause there are no written documents to prove this. Science has established the belief that it happened during the "invasion" of montekason monks in the 11th century. Still the church had probably existed in this place much earlier.
The oldest material proof are certainly pieces of the sculpted crossbeam in the church ruins and a piece found in the sea not far from the cape, and they all belong to the 9th or the 10th century.
The church was dedicated to the original patron, St Michael. It was a one-nave building with the foundation shaped as a longated rectangle. It was turned towards the east, on the side where the terrain was sloping steeply, so that after the church destruction a stairway was made from the apse to the crypt, for church service.
A small church - a chapel, was constructed on the very south-western edge of the rock cape. What remained of it today are the cryptr and a few lines of fine ashlars at the foot. The chapel from 1930 was one of the best preserved complex buildings, which enabled detailed reconstruction of the original appearance.
The basilica was never finished and after stopping the construction of this great project the crypt walls were turned into a part of a defence wall.
It is not known when the cloister complex was constructed. There is the year 1473 engraved on the northern side, which is most likely the year of the monastery repairing. The cloister was most likely built in the second half of the 13th century, at the time when whole monastery was restored.
The monastery defence tower, which was visible on the engraving, was constructed in the 13th or the 14th century. The main gate, which was later walled, was here. The monastery got its water supply through a system which joined the monastery drinking fountain. There were storerooms and olive mills inside. They were all surrounded by strong walls from the 14th and the 15th centuries.