Monasteries in Romania, where amazing murals — inside and outside.
Certainly, if you go to visit a monastery, you would expect to see the murals there — but inside. In Romania there are several monasteries, of which many hundreds of years, and their main Church — katholikon — painted outside, beautifully preserved frescoes. Given the technology of fresco painting, it is surprising that a design of external walls suffered neither from time nor from weather conditions. Perhaps the most famous of these monasteries is Voronet, where a sky-blue background of the frescoes even gave the name of this shade in the Romanian language.
A number of frescoes on the walls of the katholikon of the monastery of Voronet is able to turn the head. Each wall is devoted to a particular biblical story. On the West side depicts judgment day. The North side tells the story from the book of Genesis, and on the South wall depicts the family tree of old Testament characters. For all the time the murals were never restored. The paint layer is just few millimeters, and in spite of this, all the plots are clearly distinguishable.
When exactly were these frescoes is unknown, but the monastery itself was begun in 1488 on the orders of the ruler of Moldavia Stephen III the Great, who wanted to celebrate a victory in a recent battle with the troops of the Ottoman Empire. The construction of the monastery coincides with the arrival of St. Daniel the Hermit, who was its first Abbot and is buried on the inside.
The frescoes are amazing in their beauty. When the Habsburgs annexed the Northern part of the Moldavian Principality in 1775, the monastery was abandoned, and the monks didn’t return until 1990-ies. How the frescoes managed to survive so well despite the neglect, still remains a mystery: some believe that it is one of the manifestations of the divine miracle. Voronet is often called the Sistine chapel of the East.
Voronet is not the only monastery in Romania, whose walls are frescoed on the outside. There are other, less known examples which are part of the unique cultural heritage of this country. The Humor monastery is also dotted with murals on the outside. They are not so well preserved, like the monastery of Voronet, but still look fascinating. Humor was built in 1530, abandoned in 1786 and, like Voronet, was not used until the late twentieth century.
Unlike the Funnel, the authorship and the period of creation of frescoes in Humore known. Thomas Suceava chose the dominant red-brown shade for your project, and oversaw the painting of the monastery in 1535. He took stories from the Bible, including the day of judgment, and created a visual ode to the virgin Mary. However, among his works is the depiction of the siege of Constantinople, which was a propaganda tool against the Ottoman Empire, experiencing the Golden age when he created the murals. Let this particular siege of Constantinople occurred in the year 626 B. C., the invaders were the Persians, the fresco depicts the Turks instead.
The monastery of Moldovita was built in 1532 as a symbolic protective barrier against the Turks. It was built by voivode Petru Rares, the illegitimate son of Stefan III the Great (who ordered the construction of Voronet).
The Rares was a Turkish vassal, who inherited from his father a love for building religious buildings. During his reign, the country was going through difficult times, and in 1539 he even lost the throne for two years. Moldovita is one of his best achievements during the reign.
In 1500-ies across the country invested a lot of money in building temples and monasteries. In 1585, was built the monastery of Sucevita, whose exterior walls were also decorated with frescoes. Like other monasteries, Suceviţa combines elements of Byzantine and Gothic architecture and frescoes are plots of the Old and New Testaments. It was probably the last monastery, decorated in this way. The frescoes date from the early seventeenth century. Sucevita is different from the other monasteries that lived here, not only monks, but also to know.
Suceviţa is a mysterious place. The Western wall of the monastery is not painted. According to local legend, the artist, engaged in painting, fell from the scaffolding and died. Other artists worked on the frescoes, considered it a bad omen and were afraid to continue. So painting the outside of the walls remained unfinished. Other legends explaining the absence of frescoes on the West wall, there, so it remains to believe in the veracity of this.
Sucevita monastery has never been abandoned, however, his story had a period of relative inactivity. Under communism in the years 1947-1989 here was allowed to live only nuns over 50 years. After the revolution in Romania in 1989, the monastery again began to flourish.
Despite their status as objects of cultural heritage, the Romanian painted monasteries are little known outside this country. This is an amazing example of how art is preserved for centuries, and significant contribution to the Romanian and European history.
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