Aug 24

DRAGOMIRNA MONASTERY – A UNIQUE SITE IN ALL BUKOVINA (MANASTIREA DRAGOMIRNA)

The fairy-tale scenery of Bukovina never ceases to amaze us with its timeless beauty. Wherever you look, you see a piece of history, you see the evidence of faith, and the beauties of nature. In this journey we will visit two very interesting and fascinating sights that will remain in their memory by their unique and picturesque character.

Located between the mild hills of Bucovina, 12 kilometers northward from the former residence of Stephen the Great and the Metropolitan of Moldova, Dragomirna rises like the proud stem of a millennial tree between the fortress walls. Built as if it was meant to taunt the heights, in search of more light near the woods, shaded by a curtain of trees and mirrored by the water of the majestic lake nearby, this place of worship, through its antiquity, originality of style, elegance and solidity of form awakens the admiration of every visitor, and the pious worshiper is as impressed as the art historian.

Bishop Anastasius Crimca Built the Dragomirna Monastery in 1609; it is somehow different from other monasteries in Bucovina, with clear influences of the early 15th century. First of all, the monastery is very large, it is more “aired” the other famous Orthodox monasteries in the area, and fortification walls provide it a greater solidity that can be noticed in the aspect, and proven as well as in the many conquering attempts. On the other hand, the inside of the church is very narrow and the walls are not painted but decorated with engravings.

Beyond the beauty of the landscape, the unusual site, which produces an unforgettable impression, there is strange elegance of the monument, with geometric rigor of great refinement, with a unique frame in terms of proportions and unit volume of all the other Moldavian medieval monuments. Probably precisely this uniqueness of the monument has attracted since early times the attention of specialists, who have set different judgments of value, according to the period and circumstances, but always stressing and pointing out the utter originality of the edifice. Nicolae Iorga spoke about the matchless beauty of Dragomirna Monastery, as well as about its greatness and the overall impression that it makes on its visitors.

The Dragomirna Ensemble was built on the border of two centuries and places itself between two stages of the Moldavian style. Dragomirna Monastery Complex of Medieval Art is composed of the Small or Hermitage Church, the Big Church, defensive walls, the old building of abbots, the five towers, monk cells and the chapel.

You can climb the walls surrounding the monastery and you can admire the interior of the edifice where nuns, busy as the bees, are performing their daily activities. Dragomirna is located in a very quiet area and exudes a peace of mind that spreads around.

The inner walls, which have a height of 11 meters, will catch your eye and will stir your amazement.

Location: Mitocul Dragomirnei town, 15 km north of Suceava, the dN29.

Photo source:

Picture 1: mega-travel.ro; Picture 2: manastireadragomirna.ro; Picture 3: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 4: skytrip.ro; Picture 5: vladimir-rosulescu.blogspot.ro; Picture 6: skytrip.ro; Picture 7: tumblr.com
Aug 16

THE AMAZING HISTORICAL EDIFICES OF BUCOVINA (BUCOVINA)

Bucovina is one of the most representative areas in Romania. A historical region of crucial importance throughout the tumultuous history of Romania, it offers endless touristic attractions and possibilities.

Moldovita Monastery

Moldova was built in 1532 by Petru Rares, the son of Stefan the Great, and was painted in 1537, both inside and outside. The frescos on the southern wall are very well preserved. Notice at the outset that the nuns who live here are excellent guides for groups of foreign tourists – a very good note in the context of tourism. The monastery’s stylish and dapper, the church is close to the cells and the entire surrounding is filled with flowers that give it a special note. In the courtyard there is a statue of Petru Rares. Tourists will appreciate, not only the beauty of the place, but also the active presence of the nuns.

Sucevita Monastery

You cannot see Sucevita without seeing Moldovita, its “sister” located somewhat near. Sucevita monastery is about 50 years younger, built in 1583 by Irimia Simion and Gheorghe Movila, the former becoming the first leader of Moldova shortly after lifting this monastic building. One of the last churches painted on the outside and a part of UNESCO heritage, its stately elegance will delight the visitor’s eye with a specific shade – not so famous as Voronet blue, though -, but certainly delightful: green, symbol of the Holy Spirit. You will fall in love with the mural paintings and the silence of the place.

The Fortress of Suceava

This is an objective that represents a top sensational attraction. Unfortunately, a while ago, the lack of funding and interest made the most important fortress of the rulers of Moldova enter a long process of restoration, starting from 2012. Regardless of that, hadn’t you already known a few pieces of information, you will find out on the spot about the bravery of the Moldavian rulers and soldiers against all those that attempted to conquer these beautiful lands: from the Russians and Polish to the Ottoman Turks and many other migratory peoples – without luck and success, however!

The restoration process has been unfolding and is now done and over with, therefore the visitors are fully and quietly able to enjoy the place; no more workers on scaffolding! You can now admire an excellently built fortress, to which have contributed over the years rulers and political figures like Petru Musat I (he raised it in 1375), Stephen the Great, Alexandru cel Bun (Alexander the Kind), Vasile Lupu, Ieremia Movila and other Moldavian leaders who totally devoted their efforts into achieving and preserving a very hard city to conquer and a historical symbol. Unfortunately it was damaged  in 1497, after the Polish attack lead by John Albert, several earthquakes during Duca Voda – 1678-1683, the city turned to ruin and went into oblivion until the early twentieth century, when the Austrian architect Karl A. Romstorfer lent a helping hand and reestablished the glory on the old walls of this historic edifice.

And fortunately, after him, the current local authorities have shown the same interest and devotion and put it back on the well-deserved tourist track, where you can see it, admire and meditate upon the past..

Check for the prison of the edifice, it’s a truly sensational place to see!

Photo source:

Picture 1: youtube.com; Picture 2: infopensiuni.ro; Pictuire 3: xmaps.ro; Picture 4: festivaluri-romanesti.ro; Pictyure 5: svnews.ro; Picture 6: mapio.net; Picture 7: orasulsuceava.ro
Aug 03

THE WONDERS OF BUCOVINA THAT YOU WILL NOT FIND ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD

This is not our first journey on the magic lands of Bucovina, but last time we haven’t managed to cover but a little part of the beauties and attractions offered by this fascinating historical region of Moldova. And still we are not done! But before moving further, let’s see what today’s visit has to offer!

Cacica Salt Mine

Take a break from your journey among Bucovina monasteries to breathe salt air (mixed with a soft flavor of the lamp oil) inside the mine of Cacica. This saline is different from those that you are probably familiar with, like the ones in Slanic-Prahova, Turda or elsewhere. Because we are talking basically of a mine whose construction began in 1791 and which later one, in the years ahead, experts and Polish workers had been working at.

The mine entrance is done with the help of some wooden stairs that have 200 years old; there are also 200 steps, just so you know what to expect again on your way out. Browsing the galleries, before reaching the wide-open spaces, could be a challenge for the claustrophobic, but the ride itself has its undeniable charm. In the mine you can visit the ballroom, the gym (where you can play football or basketball) or the little church, located at a depth of 27 meters, carved into salt.

If you intend to visit the mine, do not forget to take a coat, because in the depths, the temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius. You should also know that the football field is located to a depth of 37 meters, so if you want to play football here, it will definitely be an interesting experience that most professional football players haven’t had, at least so far.

Humor Monastery

Chancellor Toader Bubuiog is “guilty” of building this monastery in 1530, thus being a private foundation project because Bubuiog was not a leader. Bearing the ephram of the Assumption, Humor Monastery was fortified in 1641 by Vasile Lupu, who built the strong walls around it.

The church has painted exterior walls and the interior frescoes are made in the style of other monasteries of Bucovina, such as Voronet, Arbore, Moldovita and Sucevita.

While in the area, go visit the Tower of Vasile Lupu, located in the northeast of the enclosure, which is not part of the fortification, but it’s a beautiful and very interesting touristic attraction, loaded with history and legends.

The Egg Museum in Vama

Do not go through Bucovina without making a stop at the Egg Museum of Customs, a private museum belonging to Letitiei Orsivschi, professor of textile and decorative art. You’ll live a great experience, along with a popular artist that will be your guide for an hour through the magical world of an object about which Constantin Brancusi said that represents “the mother of all forms”: the egg.

Letitia Orsivschi has gathered in the two rooms of the museum (opened 7 years ago) a fantastic collection of over 3000 eggs, whose story she will reveal with passion. Eggs from around the world, from all continents, decorated, painted, and worked on every way … eggs of all kinds, from the smallest to giant ostrich eggs. In addition, you will see collections of eggs, some older than 50 years (from the collection of the family), all wearing endorsed a local craft that lasts for centuries and which induce a symbolic strong religious or secular feeling, depending on the pattern chosen for decoration. At the end of the visit you can buy your own decorated eggs – as perfect memories of a visit in Bucovina.

Vatra Dornei

The pearl of Bucovina must be visited on a journey of its own. The resort is situated in one of the most beautiful areas in Romania – Dorna Depression – and will enchant you with its fairy-tale-like scenery, with deep forests, fresh air and mineral water springs. You can admire the beauty of nature from above (1400 meters high), by taking the chairlift, with or without the need of having your ski equipment. And while there, you must visit the Central Park known for the friendly and always hungry squirrels that answer by the name “Mariana”; they will approach you if you lure them with wall nuts, hazelnuts, almonds and other such delights. In the Central Park, which is a part of Vatra Dornei National Park, you can also visit the Japanese Pavilion, the Holy Trinity Church, the Museum of Ethnography and the insolite castle nearby that marks the existence of a mineral water spring with a high content of iron.

To be continued with the rest of wonders and attractions…

Photo source:

Picture1: visitvatradornei.ro; Picture 2: alfahotels.ro; Picture 3: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 4: balnear.info; Picture 5: inbucovina.ro; Picture 6: amfostacolo.ro; Picture 7: vatra-dornei.info; Picture 8: casabunicilor.com; Picture 9: infoturism-moldova.ro; Picture 10: descoperalocuri.ro; Picture 11: smartlight.ro; Picture 12: monitorulsv.ro
Jul 05

HOLIDAY IN BUCOVINA, A PLACE OF LEGEND AND OUTSTANDING NATURE (BUCOVINA)

A holiday in Bucovina will leave you with the feeling that Romania is a country so beautiful that could live solely from tourism. Certainly, before planning your holiday in northern Moldavia, you will ask yourself what are the most interesting sites and landmarks you should see. Of course, among the wonders of the location, the pride of the place is represented by its famous monasteries. But they are not the only highlights of an area where nature and landscapes will delight you, probably more than anything. I will offer you some suggestions, which are obligatory to see in this realm of old history and legends that is the land of Bucovina. The order is random, but there is a certain route to visit them all, one by one. The roads are excellent and all you have to do is let your feet guide you.

Putna is the first monastery built by Stephen the Great – the Romanian Prince who fought against the Ottoman Empire, being also the place where he was laid to rest, along with his family. Its construction began in 1466 and was completed in 1469, it was consecrated in 1470 after winning the battle of Lipinti against the Tartars. The works were completed by Greek architect Theodore and fortifications were committed somewhat later, in 1481. After a fire and devastation made by the Cossack army of Timus Hmelnitchi monastery was practically rebuilt by Vasile Lupu, during 1653 -1662. Putna Monastrery under the patronage of the Assumption.

Putna is one of the most beautiful and imposing monasteries in the country, due to both its architecture and the landscape in which it is placed, bringing it the top choice of passionate spiritual tourism.

You cannot come to Putna without passing by the cell of Daniil the Hermit.

The holy monk Daniil had decided at one moment of his life to withdraw and settle on the bank of Viteu River, nearby, in the village of Putna today, in order to lead a life dedicated to the Lord, where he was going to spend the rest of 20 more years, in complete hermitage. He found a rock in which he patiently carved a room like a small a chapel, which later became a place visited by many believers who came to seek spiritual advice and redemption. After his death (the exact year is not known), Daniil was buried in the narthex of the Voronet Monastery. At Putna Monastery you can see some of his relics: a finger adorned in silver and 11 pearls and a garnet.

Do not expect to find more than a cell, where you meet a monk who prays. But its location is spectacular and spiritual surroundings will fill you with peace and relaxation.

Built in 1488 by Stephen the Great, Voronet is probably the most famous monastery in Romania. That’s because of the famous “Voronet blue” color which is unique and has a formula which has not been discovered up to this day, despite the scientiffic evolvement. Legend has it that the monastery was founded by Stefan after a visit to the monk Daniil the Hermit, who urged the Prince to not surrender in front of the Turks, and if he prevails in the struggle with them, he must raise a monastery in the name of Saint George. Maybe this is why, this particular monastery, Voronet, was the closest to the soul of the Moldovan leader and also of his followers. Today, the monastery is part of UNESCO.

Exterior paintings, elaborated by theologian Grigore Rosca, are absolutely fabulous: unique, bright compositions,  high-impact themes, original an d inspired traditions including, for example, musical instruments speciffic to the Moldovan area, such a cobza or horn. Voronet blue color that is part of Bucovina symbolic colors (along with other colors such as white of Humor, ocre, yellow, rusty etc.) have been preserving their mystery composition for more than five centuries. The vivid hue, which in the sun it gets an incredible shine has conserved it’s liveliness for so long since its application and has become famous worldwide.

Photo source:

Picture 1: hellobucovina.com; Picture 2: lataifas.ro; Picture 3: explorebucovina.com; Picture 4: romaniatourism.com; Picture 5: www.perlabucovinei.ro; Picture 6: bucovinabooking.ro; Picture 7: blog.ultramarintm.ro; Picture 8: discoverbucovina.info; Picture 9: panoramio.com; picture 10: arratour.ro, Picture 11: platferma.ro; Picture 12: bucovina.net