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…