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A Fortress of Faith

By gss  
Today is one of the 6 UNESCO world heritage monuments with outside frescoes from Bukovina, Northern Moldavia and Romania.
It is the Suceviţa Monastery [pronounce: sootchevitsa], the last outside painted monastery in Moldavia.
From 1532 to 1582, there were 50 years of an unique phenomenon - the outside paintings of churches as a faith strengthen. It was a kind of iconic Gospel, for those illiterate. Pictures can "talk" better than words, that was the idea.
When coming from Suceava, and when entering the first waves of the Oriental Carpathians, you will meet Suceviţa [meaning the small Suceava - the suffix -ita (pronounce itsa) means in Romanian, something little, or something familiar].
It is located on the Obcina Mare ridge - a group of wavy monotone mountains, - all are looking the same - still covered with beautiful spruce or fir huge secular and wild forests. It was built between 1581-1586 by the nobleman Ieremia Movila [from a great local family, Movila, in affinity with noblemen from Poland. and Hungary [his wife being a Hungarian Catholic]. Ieremia Movila built this monastery when being only a nobleman, later he will reign over Moldavia between 1595-1600.
He was the grandson of Petru Rares, the ruler who started and performed the biggest number of outside painted churches. After Suceviţa, this artistic process will end completely in Moldavia, but will start, on a popular form in the XVIII century in Wallachia [southern Romania]
Suceviţa is also the first church bringing some Wallachian elements in its architecture: 2 exterior porches on the N and S sides, and the presence of three - not only one - window on each apse, as in Wallachia tradition.
Its famous exterior fresco represents, in a huge painting on the south wall, the image of the St. John of the Ladder staircase. (the staircase to Heaven, and the difficulties to arrive there). Another great scene is also the "Tree of Jesse" Inside, there is another impressive painting, the votive painting of the whole Movila family.
The church has a very rare patron day: the Resurrection of Jesus.
Ieremia Movila, built also in 1586 the massive and imposing defensive devices. Some scholars are thinking that this fortified monasteries were the Moldavian answer to the Ottoman request to auto- demolition of the real fortresses and castles.
In winter all looks as in a fairy tale, as snow here is covering the ground even with 1 m thickness
A special thank for all of you and your support on my pictures and descriptions

Tags: Church Architecture Monastery Romania Unesco Fresco Moldavia Sucevita outside paintings

Voters: bobpaige1, gwynn56, kuipje and 22 more

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Bantu 7 7 1 India
13 Feb 2016 12:21PM
A great heritage capture with very good details.

barbarahirst 12 27 12 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2016 12:56PM
an education thats for sure
13 Feb 2016 1:59PM
Very interesting Silviu, as you know I have a personal interest in Bukovina. Thank you for sharing.
CarolG 14 199 20 Greece
13 Feb 2016 3:38PM
A beautiful monastery in wonderful countryside, very interesting image.
JuBarney Plus
9 33 5 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2016 5:38PM
A beautiful building & surrounding countryside.
nonur 12 18 13 Turkey
13 Feb 2016 6:45PM
Another beautiful structure surrounded by thick walls, the drone video is also great as it shows the beautiful surroundings as well, Silviu. Super info again.
Drighlynne Plus
9 131 1 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2016 8:47PM
What a beautiful place Silviu, the grounds inside the monastery look so peaceful, no wonder the monks could meditate.GrinGrinGrinGrinGrin

13 Feb 2016 10:15PM
A beautiful monastery, Silviu.
Thanks for sharing the drone video too.

mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
14 Feb 2016 12:57PM
Lovely monastery Silviu, in a beautiful setting.
Enjoyed watching the video.

14 Feb 2016 2:59PM
Very interesting Silviu, thank you for sharing.
Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2016 4:46PM
What a beautiful view Silviu!
Excellent work...
jocas 6 6 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2016 11:59AM
excellent image, video and narrative, Silviu. i like the haystacks in your image, they contrast perfectly with the grandness of the fort.
15 Feb 2016 7:15PM
an amazing place to visit - there is an excellent video presented by Angela Gheorghiu (so complete with some equally brilliant music) with several Romanian painted monasteries / churches shown in detail. If you can find it its well worth looking at.

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