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Bucovina is a region located in the north of Romania (Moldova) whose name dates back to 1774, means “land covered by forests of beech trees.” Famous for its beautiful landscapes, the Bukovina even more for its painted monasteries built in buckets. XV-XVI under the principles Moldova Stephen the Great and his son Petru Rares.

For there is no other place in the world that Bucovina in Moldavia North, where a group of Orthodox monasteries with their external wall paintings can be seen. These painted monasteries are part of the UNESCO World Heritage for their rarity and beauty.

Seven of the painted monasteries of Bucovina were placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The eighth, Sucevita, it is awaiting sanction to be added to the list.

The best preserved are the monasteries of Humor, Moldovita, Patrauti, Probota, Suceava, Sucevita, Voronet, Neamt and Putna. Another, a small church located in the village of Arbore.

Bucovina is among the most attractive and popular tourist area on the map of Romania. It is no coincidence that this area, now famous worldwide, was honored in 1975 with the “Pomme d’Or” Award International, the International Federation of Journalists and Writers of Tourism and the ancient architectural monuments with frescoes inside and out , this part of the world were named UNESCO list of monuments of world art.

Their painted exterior walls are decorated with elaborate frescoes 15th and 16th centuries, with portraits of saints and prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus, images of angels and demons, and heaven and hell. Considered masterpieces of Byzantine art, these churches are one-of-a-kind architectural sites in Europe. The murals have always produced a strong impression on those who have admired. Their colors, brilliantly preserved after so many centuries, appear as a phenomenon and constitute an exception because of their technique. Specialists are always impressed by the exceptional intensity of the colors, the rest because these monuments are in a very harsh environment. Far from being merely wall decorations, the murals represent complete cycles of religious murals. The purpose of the frescoes was to make the story of the Bible and the life of the most important Orthodox saints known to villagers by the use of images. Their outstanding composition, elegant outline and harmonious colors blend perfectly with the surrounding landscape.

Bogdana Monastery
It is the oldest religious monument built in stone entire Bucovina. Built in 1360, instead of a religious building already exists, the church seems to have been built by Bogdan I, the first ruler of Moldavia. There were other rulers who contributed to the building, for example Alexandru Lapusneanu (who added the porch in 1559) and Stephen the Great. The inner painting are the result of superimposed layers of frescoes made in different periods. The church houses the tombs of the Musat family, the first family of rulers in Moldavia.

Arbore Monastery
Arbore Monastery was built between 2 April and the twenty-ninth in August 1503 by Luca Arbore.Esso was conceived as a court chapel of the landowner and as the burial place of his family. The church has a rectangular structure and has no bell tower (only the princely churches had the privilege of owning a bell tower). The paintings were made in subsequent periods, in 1541 by Dragos Coman and the background on which they were made is green. The monastery’s painting repeats the classic themes: Judgment Day, the ‘Siege of Constantinople. The church houses the tomb of Luca Arbore, the Gothic funeral monument most important of Moldova. The church is a UNESCO protected monument.

Dragomirna Monastery
The monastery of Dragomirna was built between 1602 and 1609 by the future Bishop of Moldavia, Anastasie Crimca. Between 1627 and 1635, during the reign of Miron Barnovschi, because of frequent Turkish attacks, the monastery has been reinforced walls and towers of defense that have contributed to its present fortress’ as it is today. The facade of white stone is surrounded by a thick rudente under a double row of arches pennacchio.Le trefoil windows reflect the influence of Gothic polacca.La bell tower, embellished with geometric and floral motifs draws our attention.

Humor Monastery
The Humor Monastery was built in 1530 by the chancellor Teodor Bubuiog. In 1535 the mural painting was made by Toma from Suceava, a famous painter at that time, and has as its central theme the ‘Constantinople Siege is the red-brick. In 1641 the ruler Vasile Lupu added the cell campanaria.Il Humor Monastery houses a valuable collection of icons dating from the sixteenth century. The building is a protected monument by Unesco.

Moldovita Monastery
Moldovita Monastery was built between 1402 and 1410 by Alexander the Good. At the beginning of the sixteenth century the monastery fell because of a landslide. In 1532 the ruler Petru Rares built a new monastery at a distance of 500 m the ‘south of the old one. The Regent did surround with towers and fortified walls of protection. The exterior painting was made in 1537 by Toma from Suceava. On the south wall we can admire the Siege of Constantinople, the Tree of Jesus, a group of some famous ancient philosophers. Moldovita Monastery houses a valuable museum which proudly displays the Golden Apple, a prize awarded by the International Association of Journalists in all five Moldavian monasteries in recognition of the artistic and cultural value of the frescoes on the outside walls. Moldovita Monastery is a UNESCO protected monument.

Putna Monastery
The Putna Monastery was the first monastery built by the ruler Stephen the Great. The construction took place between 1466 and 1469. In 1481 the monastery was fortified (have been added to the defense walls and the Gate Tower). In 1484 it was damaged by fire but in 1498 Stephen the Great financed the restoration. Destroyed during the assault in 1653, the monastery church was rebuilt between 1654 and 1662 during the reign of Vasile Lupu, Gheorghe Stefan and Eustratie Dabija. The only building left of the period of Stephen the Great is the Exchequer Tower. The church houses the tomb of Stephen the Great, those of his two wives: Maria and Maria de Voichita Mangop and also those of his descendants till Petru Rares. The icon brought from Constantinople by Maria de Mangop is considered miraculous. The monastery museum has a vast collection of manuscripts and religious books, icons and religious objects.

Monastery Sucevita
Description: Sucevita Monastery was founded by Gheoghe Movila, Bishop of Moldavia between 1581 and 1584. Later, his brother, Ieremia Movila fortified the monastery by adding the defense walls and towers. The frescoes were made by two painters, Ioan and Sofronie between 1595 and 1596. The exterior painting has as its dominant color the dark green. On the northern wall is described the scale of the Virtues, symbolizing the struggle between good and evil; on the south wall appears the Tree of Life. The monastery of Sucevita is the burial place of the family of Movila. The museum of the monastery is of great value and exposes the way, some embroidery made with threads of gold and silver, silk threads and pearls that date back to the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The most important are the portraits of Ieremia and Simion Movila and an epitaph embroidered with pearls. The Sucevita Monastery is one of the five monasteries that received the Golden Apple Award by the International Journalists for the high historical value.

Monastery Voronet
Description: Voronet Monastery was built in only three months and three weeks in 1488, by the ruler Stephen the Great. In 1547, under the control of the Metropolitan Bishop Grigore Rosca, the porch was added. The interior painting was made between 1535 and 1543, but the international reputation of the monastery is due to exterior painting realized in 1547. Voronet is considered as “the Sistine Chapel of the East” that is due to the magnificent frescoes, especially those on western wall, where it represented the Last Judgment. “Voronet Blue” has been added to the lexicon of world art alongside colors like “Titian red” by Rubens and “Verde Veronese”. The bell tower has two bells were donated to the monastery by Stephen the Great, and when played they seem to call the name of the founder. The monastery houses the tomb of Grigore Rosca, the Metropolitan Bishop and St. Pious Daniil the Hermit. Voronet Monastery is a monument protected by UNESCO.

Probota Monastery
the monastery of Probota at first was built by Stephen I Musat and later rebuilt by Stephen the Great. In 1465 Stephen the Great was buried here Oltea his mother, and his wife Evdochia Kiev, in 1467. In 1530, the ruler Petru Rares built a new church on the ruins of the old one, known as “clear”. The monastery was fortified in 1550 and became the resting place of the ruler Petru Rares and his family. The frescoes date back to 1532, the representation of the Apocalypse is particularly striking. The monastery has a valuable collection of icons dating from the sixteenth / seventeenth century. The Probota Monastery was an important cultural center. For here they were educated men as famous as: Dosoftei, Grigore Rosca, and Gheorghe Movila.

Monastery Rasca
The Rasca monastery was built in 1542 by Petru Rares in 1552 and was frescoed by the painter greek Stramatello Cotronas.

Bucovina Painted Monasteries

Bucovina Painted Monasteries

Tour North Romania – Painted Churches & UNESCO – 8 days / 7 nights from 499 € / pers More info