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Moldovia's Painted Churches

ROMANIA | Monday, 31 October 2011 | Views [909]

Painted monastery of  Moldovita

Painted monastery of Moldovita

The border between Transylvania and Moldovia is the most striking place I have seen in Eastern Europe.  I could almost see us living in the village of Piatra Fantanele, a poor man’s Switzerland.  It even has a small ski resort.

The farther we drove into Moldovia the farther back in time we seemed to travel.  Haying season is in full swing and horses plod up steep roads pulling wagons piled high with freshly cut hay.  Double horse teams sweat behind them with wagons loaded with logs.  And in the villages dairy farmers load milk cans into their carts.

When Steven the Great, the protector of Moldovia, successfully defended his princedom from the Ottomans, he commissioned a church for each of his many victories.  Several of these “painted churches,” now World Heritage sites, are actually illustrated Bibles, complete with biblical stories and scenes of various saints being gruesomely martyred.  We watched as a nun perched high on a scaffold restored a scene at the Mondovita Monastery.  The walled Monastery of Sucevita was the last one built before the Ottoman invasion.  Its fortress-like walls gave us an idea of what the English monasteries would have looked like before Henry VIII ordered them to be slighted.


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