Bucovina is the region of north Moldavia, bordering Ukraine. The name means „beech land” and it received this in the18th century, under the Habsburg empire. Bucovina is famous for The Painted Churches, built in the 15th and 16th centuries and featuring colourful exterior frescoes depicting dramatic religious scenes. Being painted outside with mineral and vegetable colours which have stayed vivid for 500 years, these churches are unique in the world.
VORONET painted church is also known as the Sistine Chapel of the East. Perhaps the most stunning of the painted monasteries, it was founded in 1487 by Stephen the Great to celebrate a victory over the Turks. The frescoes were added about 60 years later and feature an intense blue…even after more than 500 years!
Not far from Voronet is HUMOR painted church. The predominant color is yellow and it is very similar to Moldovita (built and painted only 2 years later).
MOLDOVITA’s exterior walls feature predominantly gold and deep blue paintings, dating from 1537. The large and vivid Siege of Constantinople highlights the frescoes. There is also a beautiful fortified wall and garden and the museum displays the “Golden Apple”, a prize received by the painted churches in 1977 for the “best travel destination”.
High walls and heavily buttressed defensive towers surround the great monastic complex of SUCEVITA, giving it the appearance of a fortress. The Ladder of Virtues painted on the north wall, is magnificent.
Amongst the less visited, please allow some time to see some of the other special churches, off the beaten track:
PATRAUTI, ARBORE, PROBOTA where the exterior paintings are not as well preserved but some of the other details make them very special.
HIGHLIGHTS IN BUCOVINA:
- Painted churches
- Steam train ride from Moldovita to Argel
- Walking in remote hamlets, up on the hills
- Hay making & hay stacks
- Wild flowers before the hay season