Sucevita Monastery is located in the north – east of Romania, in Suceava County, just 18 km from the town of Radauti and 55 km from Suceava. The church was built at the beginning of the sixteenth century, but it was mentioned a few years later, in 1582. Like with many monasteries of Moldavia in the case of Sucevita Monastery underlies a legend. The legend says that a simple woman who wanted to redeem her sins brought, throughout 30 years, with her chariot pulled by buffalos, stone in order to be performed the construction.
Evidence of the importance of the Monastery for the Romanian history and culture is the fact it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010, but also the number of people which choose to visit this tourist attraction while traveling in Romania.
Founders of Sucevita monastery are representatives of Movilesti family, scholars, noblemen, rulers of Moldova and the Romanian Country, from the XVI – XVII centuries.
Ieremia Movilă, Prince of Moldavia between 1595 – 1606, is considered the main founder of the stone enclosure of the monastery, the monastic cells, the royal house, and the initiator of the interior and exterior painting of the church.
Architecture of the church from Sucevita Monastery is a summary of the most important Moldavian ecclesiastical building principles in of XV and XVI centuries, the nice combination of Gothic and Byzantine styles, to which are added architectural elements taken from old wooden churches.
Painting, both interior and exterior, is very extensive, combining narratives from the New and Old Testament.
Regarding exterior painting, Sucevita Monastery can be proud of being the only one in Bukovina which keeps the painting on the north side. On this wall can be seen the “Ladder of Virtues”, a very important scene because of the strong opposition between the chaos from hell and the order of the angels . Is the battle of good against evil and people trying to recover the loss caused by the fall of Adam and Eve into sin. The painters which worked here painted on the walls of the three apses the ‘Prayer of All Saints’, a theme with an unique character in the world of all Orthodox Christians.
On the southern side of the church were painted “The Annunciation Hymn”, “The pyre in flames”, “Tree of Jesse” (which is based on the ancient philosophers) and the “Holy Virgin Protection”.
Interior painting is spread over the entire available surface according to traditional schemes, enriched by unusual subjects in Moldova but familiar to Wallachia – for instance the representation of the tabernacle of the testimony in the altar. The iconostasis of Sucevita Monastery is carved in yew wood, baroque – rococo and dates since 1801.
The porch welcomes, as usual, with the Last Judgement and a very earthly historical story: Welcoming the relics of St. John the New to the court of Alexandru cel Bun.
The nave contains a miniature mosaic of stories from the Life of Jesus, three images of Genesis where nature and landscape stand out and “votive painting”, which is also rich in characters.
Unique in our painting is the iconography of the Life of Moses, in which are illustrated dogs, pigs, and even Hebrew with pursed hats, secular elements of local origin, while the Virgin Mary – on the vault – has flowers in the aura and is incorporated to a mountain landscape.
Tourists wishing to visit Sucevita Monastery can also visit its museum, which has a very rich collection of Moldavian medieval art.
- AddressDN17A, Sucevița, 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)