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Bucovina Monasteries

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Bucovina painted monasteries

The "painted" monasteries are the major Moldavian attraction, because of the vivid frescoes on their churches.
These depict Biblical and other scenes, designed in sequences almost like strip cartoons to excite the imagination of the local people and so educate them in the Orthodox religion.
The churches stand in the center of monastery compounds and all have high pitched roofs and dim interiors - take a torch with you.

(Romanian National Tourist Office: Moldavia/Bucovina)

Bucovina painted monasteries

In the 15th century, when they decided to have those churches painted, the stone walls had to undergo special lime coating preparations.
The lime and the minerals was carefully prepared next to the working site, over pits filled with burning wood or the achievement of one single painting there had to be prepared 10 tons of lime.
For almost 5 centuries, the exterior frescoes of Bucovina have had to fight the wind and the rain. As if they were protected by Gods, nowadays those treasures still surprise and offer joy to their visitors, by their simplicity and efficiency.
Each painted character seems to be staring at you, as if in an attempt to hypnotize. There was an iconic art, with a prevailing didactic objective, in which facts had to be presented in a precise manner, accessible to everyone, thus stimulating human mind.
One may wonder why such paintings should have been on the exterior walls.
The reason is a very simple one: these little churches, designed for local communities, could not accommodate all the Christians who would pray there; besides, most of them were illiterate.
The decision to have the exterior walls painted aimed at presenting the events of the Orthodox calendar. The whole Bible is displayed on the walls of Voronet, Sucevita, Moldavita, Humor, Arbore and other monasteries.
Should you go, by any chance, to Bucovina, take time to discover those treasures and try to admire them as if you were watching a performance.
Those paintings have survived through centuries, waiting for you to see.

Voronet Monastery

Voronet Monastery

is considered to be the "Sistine Chapel of the East", due to the magnificent frescoes on the western wall representing the "Last Judgment". "Voronet Blue" has been added to the art lexicon alongside colours like "Titian Red" or "Veronese Green" by specialists who consider it being unique.and transfer to Henri Coanda or Baneasa airport.
Moldovita Monastery

Moldovita Monastery

was founded in 1532 by Petru Rares, son of Stefan cel Mare - who had founded the first of the Bucovina monasteries, Putna, in 1466.
You can see the southern view of the monastery church, with its exquisite frescoes.
Sucevita Monastery

Sucevita Monastery

set in a pleasant, green valley, is fortified like a citadel, with guard towers at its four corners. Thousands of pictures decorate the church's walls. In fact, they out number those at any of the other monasteries, yet the western wall is blank.
The legend is that the artist fell off this wall's scaffolding and was killed, so it stayed undecorated.  When you go there, look for the complex Jesse's Tree on the southern wall.
Gura Humorului Monastery

Humor Monastery

it's paintings include illustration of a poem on the "The Siege of Constantinople", which shows the feelings of the Romanians towards the Turks. It was built in 1530. The aim was to maintain the Christian faith among Romanians.
On other walls are the "Return of the Prodigal Son" and the Devil amusingly pictured as a greedy woman.
Centuries ago the monks here at Humor ran a school where calligraphers and miniature painters learnt their craft.

Bucovina monasteries pictures

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