RomaniaIn the 15th and 16th centuries, painters working for local princes and powerful families in what is now northeastern Romania took entire buildings as their canvases, covering a cluster of small monasteries from top to bottom, often inside and out, with brightly coloured frescoes. Their purpose was to record the good fortune bestowed on their patrons, especially in regional warfare, and to tell stories of redemption and damnation to largely illiterate populace. What they left to modern Romania was a unique and surprisingly enduring culture gift.Spread over an area 45 miles west of Suceava, in the dramatically unspoiled region of the Carpathian foothills called Southern Bucovina, the painted monasteries remain remarkably vivid in colour and detail despite 500 years of exposure to harsh weather, assorted vandals, and the whims of successive rulers. Acclaimed as brilliant examples of a Byzantine aesthetic infused with the vitality of local folk art, mythology and historical references, they were a kind of poor man’s Bible – late-medieval billboards of Orthodox Christianity in a time when this part of Europe was under the threat of Turkish invaders.Perhaps the most striking is the 15t-century monastery of Voronet, known to Romanians as the “Sistine Chapel of the east.” It’s unique cerulean blue, particularly resistant to the elements and popularly known as “Voronet blue,” is obtained from lapis lazuli. Nearby are the painted monasteries of Humor, Moldovita, and Sucevita, all inhabited by small communities of nuns who keep their brand of faith fervently alive in this remote and ruggedly beautiful outpost where life has resisted the passing of the last few centuries.
WHERE : Suceava is 270 miles/434 km north of Bucharest.
BEST TIME : Jun-Sep for nicest weather and numerous local festivals.
EXPERIENCE : this through Experiential Travel Journeys. Please Call us or Email us.