You have probably heard by now that in Romania there are unique places to visit. You can find most of the fascinating religious architecture heritage in Northern Moldavia. However, this historical region of Romania is also known as Southern Bucovina. That is why you will find that the painted monasteries of Bucovina along with the churches of Moldavia are the same thing.

The painted monasteries of Bucovina are so unique that they have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list starting with 1993. The last one was included in 2010. Some of the best-preserved sites in Europe, these eight monasteries appeared between 1487 and 1583. Historically they are the still standing proofs of Moldavian rulers’ battle winnings against the Ottoman Empire.

The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina – Fun Facts

The Voroneț Monastery, usually the most visited of all the painted monasteries of Bucovina, has received an unusual nickname. That is “The Sistine Chapel of the East.” Not only an intense shade of blue is something the two religious murals have in common, but also the fact that they both tell biblical stories.

Moreover, the time of  Voroneț Monastery’s frescos completion (1488) came earlier than Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel (1512). That is one fact the Romanian culture cares for with pride. As a matter of fact, color lovers already know that the blue shades on the walls of the 15th-century monastery are famous around the world. The color even has its own name: “Voroneț blue.”

painted monasteries of Bucovina Voroneț
Voroneț Monastery detail of the fresco

Sucevița Monastery is another marvelous example of the creativity of Moldavian church painters. It is the last addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was once a fortified monastery and the princely residence. Then it was an essential religious manuscripts workshop and a printing center. Now Sucevița is sheltering a collection of historical artifacts, books, and art objects.

painted monasteries of Bucovina
Sucevița Monastery fresco detail

A Moldavian Itinerary

Besides the eight painted monasteries, Bucovina hosts other ten medieval monasteries. Moldavians initially built these monasteries in isolated wooded areas. Monks or nuns could have retreated in peace. Also, nobles along with the folk could have hidden in times of war. Nowadays, villages and small towns surround the monasteries. For this reason, we recommend an itinerary in Suceava County to include all these monasteries but also the Bucovina Village Museum. This museum is very much similar to the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum we told you about in our Bucharest “top ten things to do” article.

painted monasteries of Bucovina fortress
Princely Fortress of Suceava

Also worth including in your itinerary is the Princely Fortress of Suceava. The fortress is the place to visit when in Moldavia, the eastern historical region of Romania. All the essential festivals, concerts, fairs and international events in the area take place here. That is the reason why you should not miss it on your vacation. Budget travel tours like these are available.

Christianity may have had a strong influence on this part of the country, but if you travel to the far-reaching rural areas of Moldavia and Bucovina you can discover a fascinating pagan culture. Part of this pagan culture is the story of Blajini or Rohmani, that you can read here.

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