The Painted Monasteries - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to The Painted Monasteries

The Painted Monasteries

Some of the 15th century painted monasteries of Southern Bucovina have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Monuments. They represent some of the greatest artistic monuments in Europe and are among the most picturesque treasures in Romania. Most of the churches are fortified with strong defensive surrounding walls as protection against Turkish invaders and they sheltered large armies of soldiers awaiting battle.

The exterior walls of the monasteries are richly decorated with vivid frescoes depicting dramatic Biblical scenes, intended to teach Christianity to the illiterate by means of pictures. The artwork has amazingly survived harsh exposure to the elements for over 450 years and the intense colours have been well preserved. The five main painted monasteries near Suceava are Humor, Voronet, Moldovita, Sucevita and Arbore. The predominant colour of the artwork at Voronet is a vivid blue that serves as a background to the designs.

The quality of the frescoes, the magnificent Last Judgement and the brilliant colour has earned it the moniker of 'Sistine Chapel of the East'. Humor is characterised by its predominant red colour; and the largest and finest of the monasteries, Sucevita, has its thousands of painted images on a background of emerald green. Moldovita, situated in the middle of a quaint farming village, consists of a strong fortified enclosure with towers and heavy gates, with the beautiful painted church in the centre. Also nearby are Dragomirna and Putna monasteries, the latter home to an active community of monks and a small museum containing medieval manuscripts and rare textiles.

Information & Facts

Romanian is the official language, but English will be understood in Bucharest and other tourist areas.

The Leu (RON) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 bani. Money may be exchanged at banks, international airports, hotels or authorised exchange offices called 'casa de schimb' or 'birou de schimb valutar'. ATMs are available at large banks, airports and shopping centres in cities. American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in the main cities. Travellers cheques, preferably in Euros, can be cashed in large banks, some hotels and certain exchange offices in Bucharest but commission is high. It is recommended to travel with some Euros in cash in case of difficulty using credit cards or travellers cheques. US Dollars are also accepted fairly widely.

Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 between the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
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