The Road of the Painted Monasteries

The painted monasteries (in northeastern Romania) are one of the most famous landmarks of Romania. In order to reach the most famous painted monasteries the traveler must take a scenic road that passes through beautiful villages scattered  among the hillsides of the Carpathian Mountains, quite small in these parts. Beside the monasteries of Voronet, Arbore, Sucevita and Moldovita, the road passes through the village of Marginea famous for its black pottery. Also, this road passes among the hills of the Bucovina Mountains where the rural life is preserved like many years ago.

Among the most picturesque treasures of Romania are the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina. Their painted exterior walls are decorated with elaborate 15th and 16th century frescoes featuring portraits of saints and prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus, images of angels and demons, and heaven and hell.

Deemed masterpieces of Byzantine art, these churches are one-of-a-kind architectural sites in Europe. 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 lives 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.

Whether you are interested in religion, history, art or architecture, you will be intrigued by the construction and decor — exterior and interior — of these edifices.

The best-preserved are the monasteries in Humor, Moldovita, Patrauti, Probota, Suceava, Sucevita, and Voronet. Another, a small church, is located in the village of Arbore. Seven of the churches were placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1993. The eighth, Sucevita, is awaiting sanction to be added on the list.