Jul 05


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
Apr 18

Voronet Monastery (Manastirea Voronet)


Voronet Monastery is located in Voronet Town, at a 36 km distance from Suceava County and at a 4 km distance from the center of Gura Humorului Town. This is one of the most valuable monasteries in Romania. The construction work began in 1488 and it took only four and a half months to complete the edifice – which is quite the record, especially for that time.



Stephan the Great, the founder of the monastery, decided to erect the church on the place of an ancient wooden hermitage and choose Saint George as the patron of the church.


Voronet Monastery does not have a vast surface. It only measures 25,5 meters in length (without taking into account the church porch). The length of the nave and the narthex is of 7,7 meters and the lateral apses measure 10,5 meters.

The nave and the altar still maintain the iconographic ensemble painted during the reign of Stephan the Great. The representations on the walls of the monastery refer to specific episodes in the life of Jesus (the Passion of Christ – scenes which are uncommon in the nave of a church). The scenes are artistically painted and the characters are magnificently represented.



These stand out due to the seriousness of the protagonists, the vigor of their gestures and of the shapes – in this respect, the scenes representing the Entrance in Jerusalem and the Prayer on the Olive Mountain stand out. The images are so vivid, so realistically done, that it feels as if you are taking part at the actual scenes.


The images found in the narthex have been painted ulterior and they consist of decorations and figures which seem to create a link with the exterior paintings. In the church porch, there are different types of paintings (the Church Calendar and the Saint Elijah) which have a humourous touch to them – in a sense announcing the future Transylvanian iconographic representations painted on glass (in the 18th and 19th centuries).

Both the interior and the exterior painting is the merit of Gregory Rosca, the erudite theologian, who has personally supervised the anonymous monk-painters who have represented the specific scenes on the walls of Voronet Monastery. Just to make an idea of the impressive paintings illustrated on the church, you should know that the Last Judgment scene occupies the entire western wall and it is made up of an immense composition in five acts – being the only one of its kind in the entire Christian world.



Due to its amplitude, specialists regard it as representative for the decorative polychromic art and label it as superior to the compositions encountered at Athos and Camposanto (Pisa). The last Judgment Scene is considered worthy of being placed next to the Sixteen Chapel (in Rome), to the mosaics found at Kahrie Mosque in Istambul, or next to the scenes painted at San Marco (in Venice).  This goes to show the exquisiteness of its paintings.

What makes the paintings original? The artist had the courage to blend into the religious representations, traditional motifs (specific for the Moldavian region). These consist of musical instruments such as alphorns and kobsas, of local landscapes, or popular attire.



Near the entrance, you can admire the portraits of the founders of the church: Saint Daniil the Anchorite and the hieromonk Gregory Rosca. The initial shape of the monastery can be seen in the votive painting. The church was set on a rock pedestal and the belfry was set on a square base so as to emphasize its slenderness, its impetus towards the sky. The exonarthex was added back in 1547 at the request of Gregory Rosca who was thus considered the second founder of the monastery.

Voronet Monastery, as it is today, is one of the first Moldavian monuments created in a unique and personal style. The monastery is very original in its design which blends Byzantine elements (the trefoil form of the nave with the belfry), Gothic elements (the “lauching” aspect of the edifice, the arches of the doors and windows, the presence of the abutments) and specific autochthonous motifs (the belfry with four arches and a stellar base, the space underneath the cornice, blind arches at the apses, etc.).



The arm chairs and some of the lecterns belong to the 16th century, whereas two bells artistically crafted have been a gift from Stephan the Great.

Voronet Monastery stands out due to its architecture and design which are a symbol of refinement. It is no wonder that people all over the world come to this house of worship.