Moldovita Monastery was built by Petru Rares in 1532 and painted in 1537; the monastery is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire region of Bukovina being registered in UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993.
The monument is located in Vatra Moldovitei at a distance of about 4 km from Moldovita, 67 km from Suceava and 26 km from Campulung Moldovenesc.
Since its construction in the picturesque place near the Moldovita River, the monastery has played a very important role, from here being possible the supervision of the whole area. Moreover, it seems that many years ago, the abbot of the convent was the man in charge of guiding a small military organization, supervising all yeomen villages from Moldovita Valley.
Just as happened with most of the churches in this area, Moldovita Monastery has had a troubled history, and was even disbanded in 1785. Monastic activity was resumed here only after 1932, the monastery being restored in the years 1954-1960.
The architecture of the church from Moldovita Monastery combines elements of Byzantine and Gothic art. It continues the architectural style of Moldavian monasteries, style crystallized in the era of Stephen the Great. The construction of Petru Rares adds the larger sizes, tendency of ascension and slenderness. Typical elements of the late Transylvanian Gothic style which can be determined here, prove that stonemasons from Transylvania also participated in the construction of the monastery.
The interior distribution of the church is the usual, including a spacious narthex, almost square (which is entered through a Gothic portal, carved in stone), followed by the burial chamber or crypt (a narrow, low and dark room) and then the nave, repeating the proportions of the narthex; the narthex is extended on north and south sides with two apses and, to the east, with a semicircular room – the altar. The church also has an open porch, decorated with five beautiful arches carved in Moldavian style.
The church was painted in 1537, both interior and exterior and is dominated by the color yellow. Significant differences in style between scenes indicate that several painters worked here.
On the south and east facades are paintings that have not been erased by time and still show how bright were the facades decorated during the reign of Petru Rares.
Under the eaves are 105 niches, each having an angel painted inside. On the the western pillar, to the left of the entrance and on the high opening of the southern façade, there are three military Saints on horses and having a sword or a spear in hand. Uppermost is St. George, then St. Demetrius and St. Mercurius.
On the the south facade, is painted the Akathist and its 24 stanzas cover four chapters. The first are the 12 historical strophes which recount the birth of Christ: Annunciation, The conception, St. Mary meets St. Elizabeth, Joseph’s Doubt, The Birth of Jesus, the Way of the three wise men to Bethlehem, Adoration of the Magi, The Return of the Magi, Flight into Egypt bringing Jesus to the temple.
Interior painting does not deviate from tradition, but Crucifixion (located in the nave) is considered to be the most valuable achievements on the subject of the churches of Bukovina. The scene depicting Jesus on the cross, framed by the two robbers and soldiers wearing Italian fashion hats in two colors, is impressive primarily by the composition amplitude.
In the apse of the altar, the ‘Last Supper’ scene, has Jesus in the center. The richness of figurative and decorative elements are impressive at Virgin Orans located in the narthex, as it also is at the Mother of God located in the tympanum of the portal. All these gave Romania an impressive tourist sight of which you can’t be disappointed when visiting this country.
At Moldovita Monastery you can also visit a museum, which exhibits old religious objects and not only. The most important piece exhibited in the museum is the royal seat of Petru Rares, founder of the Moldovita Monastery.
- AddressVatra Moldoviței, Romania
- Opening hours
Daily: 7:00 – 21:00
The museum is open between 9:00 – 17:00
Entrance fee - 5 Lei (~1.1 Euro); Photography fee - 10 Lei (~2.2 Euro)