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Romanian World Heritage
Delicate, beautiful and in the same time imposing, the painted churches of Bucovina are the pride of generations of Romanians.
Foreigners visiting them cannot hide their admiration, too. “How can they be so small and in the same time so overwhelming?” it’s their usual question. This question is being asked over and over again because visitors are used with the enormous Western cathedrals and the painted churches of Bucovina are anything but enormous.
“Look at the church and its surroundings”, I advised a visitor, not to long ago. “Now close your eyes and picture here, in the same spot, a western cathedral you like. How would it be?” I asked. “Ugly” was the answer and the man smiled finally understanding the reason behind the size of that church.
These churches belong to the nature not to the cities. They are well integrated into the environment because their builders did not want to signal to the Tatars, Turks and other invaders “Here’s a church you can burn”. Moreover in 15th and 16th century, there were no cities in Moldova to build huge cathedrals in the middle. There were castles, fortifications and lots of villages ready to be vacated every year when hordes or armies invaded their lands.
It’s not only wrong but it’s very wrong to think that westerners who built the massive structures in their cities were somehow superior. No way. They enjoyed peace and stability and they took their time. Sometimes more than 200 years to build a cathedral. Now, look at Voronet Monastery with its fabulous paintings, touch its massive walls and think that it was build in just 111 days! Maybe the peace time between two invasions in 1487 didn’t last longer.
Yearly invasions in Moldova meant also yearly battles. Moldova hosts much more monasteryes than more than these seven listed by UNESCO. Each one of them was build to commemorate a victory against Turks, Poles, Tatars or Hungarians and they are so many because the victories were many.
Stephen the Great only fought 49 wars out of which he was victorious in 44. That means 44 churches built during in his reign alone.
So try to go in Bucovina and Moldova and visit as many churches you can. They are, if compared with the cathedrals in West, full of life, serving the same purpose as hundreds of years ago. Enjoy the peace that surrounds them and learn about a history which is more glorious than usually tourists expect.
See a list of hotels in Suceava County HERE.
List of Churches from Bucovina listed by UNESCO
Voronet Monastery, built in 1487
Patrauti Monastery, built in 1487
Arbore Monastery, built in 1503
Suceava Monastery, built in 1522
Humor Monastery, built in 1530
Probota Monastery, built in 1531
Moldovita Monastery, built in 1532
Being tired of buying kitsch? Then here are some tips about presents worth buying from Romania.
The first on the list would be the Romanian wine, one of the undiscovered treasures of Eastern Europe...