The Bucovina Monasteries. Paintings in Voroneț blue

One day, Ștefan cel Mare visited Daniil the Hermit at his cell. After waiting for the hermit to finish his prayers, the ruler of Moldova confessed his thoughts. The country was facing a terrible threat, the Ottoman invasions. Tired of fighting the Turks, Ștefan cel Mare was wondering whether he should surrender. Daniil the Hermit answered that the fight was on his side and made him promise that when the battle is won, he will build a monastery. Therefore, in the summer of 1488, the cornerstone of the Voroneț Monastery was first laid and in September, after four and a half months, it was already finished.

It was raining. Behind the walls, the yard was full of visitors. Nobody cared about the weather. The old frescoes painted in the unique Voroneț blue color were as spectacular as ever. The second day of our trip in Bucovina brought us in Gura Humorului and we couldn’t just walk by without visiting two of the most important landmarks in Romania, Voroneț Monastery and Humor Monastery. About 4 km away from the city center, the Voroneț village developed around its main attraction. The closest buildings are beautiful traditional Bucovina houses. We paid a small fee for getting in. With our hoods pulled over our heads, we spotted a bench under a tree and sat there for a while, simply looking at the church in front of us.

Most of the interior paintings date back from Ștefan cel Mare’s time. The exterior paintings are the work of Grigore Roșca, from the middle of the 16th century. It is the most remarkable ensemble of medieval art in Moldova. Specialists consider the Voroneț Monastery to be just as valuable as the Sistine Chapel in Rome.  The large fresco on the west side of the church representing Judgement Day is an exquisite piece of art, unique in the Oriental Christian world. Numerous elements such as Moldavian musical instruments, local scenery and traditional clothing make the scenes natural and closer to reality, all painted in lively shades of green and the Voroneț blue, a color which scientists say is unique in the world and its recipe remains a mystery. Inside the church, in the ante-temple, lies the grave of Daniil the Hermit.

After slowly going round the monastery a couple of times, carefully observing the religious scenes played in colors, touching the northern wall, severely damaged by five centuries worth of bad weather and looking for traces of the famous Voroneț blue color, the rain stopped and the sun made its way, scattering the clouds. This meant the day was not over yet and we had plenty more to see!

To be continued…

3 Responses

  1. Nice pictures. The murals on the walls are fascinating.

  2. What a beautiful monastery. I’ve never seen frescos quite like that before. Your pictures do a very good job of capturing the detail and antiquity of the “voronet blue.” This seems like a peaceful place where one could just sit and think and have some time to themselves if needed (something which I think all of us could use some more of from time to time.) Thank you very much for this great article.

  3. I would like to commend you for the fantastic article! I love reading travel blogs and articles, and I usually walk away the same problem from each of them. Many writers visit these amazing destinations and never delve into the local history. The trip becomes much more fascinating when the rich history is included within discussion. So, thank you for the additional information. It made the read much more worthwhile.

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