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.
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.
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.
Voronet Monastery, located in the town of Gura Humorului, Moldavia.It is one of the famous painted monasteries from southern Bukovina, now in Suceava County. Stephen the Great – built the Voronet Monastery in 1488 to commemorate the victory at Battle of Vaslui in the battle against the Turks. But this is a legend, we don’t know the exact age.
The Church Saint George at Voronet Monastery is the most famous church in Romania. It is known throughout the world for its exterior frescoes of bright and intense colors. The interior and exteriors frescoes feature an intense shade of blue known in Romania as “Voronet blue”. The most know exterior wall painting is the Last Judgment on the west wall, painted in 1547 on a background of blue. This blue is so vibrant that art historians refer to Voronet blue.
The small windows, their rectangular frames of crossed rods and shouldered arches of the interior doorframes are Gothic.The south and north doors, created in 16rh century, have rectangular frames, which indicate a transition period from Gothic to Renaissance.On each wall is a tall window with a flamboyant Gothic arches.
The whole west facade is without any openings, which indicates that the intention to reserve it for frescoes.Creatures inspired by Western European medieval literature, such as two-tailed mermaids.The tower is decorated with sixteen tall niches, in four of which are windows.
The Moldovita Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery located in the town of Moldovita, Suceava County, Moldavia.
Built in 1532 by Prince Petru Rares who was Stefan the Great’s son, the Monastery of Moldovita was founded as a protective barrier against the Muslim Ottoman conquerors from the East.
Prince Petru Rares, who ruled Romania in the middle of 16th Century, promoted a new vision for Bukovina churches. He loved elaborate frescoes: portraits of Saints and Prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus.
The Petru Rares built monastery, is one of the five monasteries in Northern Moldavia with frescoes painted on the outer walls. The most valuable painting preserved in the churches of Bukovina is “the crucifixion of Jesus” which is an event described in all four gospels which takes place immediately after his arrest and trial. In Christian theology, the death of Jesus by crucifixion is a core event, Jesus rose from the dead after three days and appeared to his Disciples on different occasions during a forty day period before his ascension to heaven
The frescoes are well preserved, the interior and exterior paintings of the walls represent scenes from the 16th century of Moldovian daily life.
Moldovita Monastery is the second (after Humor Monastery) and the last church with with Gothic-style windows and doors.
The Probota Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery located in the town of Probota, Suceava County, Moldavia.
The Probota Monastery built by Prince Petru Rares in 1530, and was destined to be the burial place for the Prince and his family. The Prince is buried in the Probota monastery.
Unfortunately the interior paintings have been preserved but the exterior paintings have not been preserved well.
The Monastery compound includes: six feet high defensive walls, as wall-walk, towers, monk cells and Prince’s house.
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.